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SDG&E to host Wildfire Safety Fairs in Ramona and neighboring communities

Sep 20, 2023

SDG&E's annual Wildfire Safety Fairs will return for the fifth year in Ramona and surrounding communities over the next few months.

All of the fairs are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are free to attend. Ramona's event will be held Saturday, June 10 at the Ramona Outdoor Community Center, 421 Aqua Lane.

A new participant in the Ramona and Valley Center fairs this year will be weed-eating goats.

SDG&E is using goats to help clear brush and prevent wildfires. The company's goat grazing program uses goats to clear brush and other vegetation-ignition sources around electric infrastructure.

"This is the first SDG&E program to explore an alternative concept to reduce flammable fuels within open space transmission corridors," said SDG&E Landscape Project Manager Bill Click.

Among the environmental benefits of moderate goat grazing are keeping corridors open, preventing the spread of noxious weeds and promoting the growth of local vegetative species, according to an SDG&E news release.

Another highlight will be a presentation at the Julian and Valley Center fairs by Sandra Younger, author of "The Fire Outside My Window."

Younger, who will speak from 10 to 11 a.m., will tell the story of how she survived the Cedar fire in the backcountry 20 years ago.

"Author Sandra Younger's miraculous saga of escape, ruin and renewal unifies a tapestry of experiences woven from more than 100 interviews with firefighters, survivors and the families of those who died," a book website states. "The fire itself is the main character in this epic story — a rampaging monster, framed within historical context, battled by understaffed, under-equipped firefighters, and confronted with the rare perspective of terrified civilians caught in its path."

Guests can talk about the book one-on-one with Younger at one of the booths at the Julian and Valley Center events.

The fairs will also have details about SDG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoffs, emergency preparedness and plans for keeping the region safe during peak wildfire season.

Other activities will include arts and crafts for children, safety kit giveaways and presentations by SDG&E staff, local firefighters and community partners.

Attendees can also learn how to sign up for power outage notifications and SDG&E bill discount programs. Food and entertainment will also be available.

New activities have been introduced each year since the first Wildfire Safety Fairs were started in 2019, said Robyn Brookshire, senior community resilience adviser for SDG&E.

"Every year we have new things like the goats this year," Brookshire said. "We’ll also have demos of large and small animal rescues and information about that. It's a great, fun day, but also behind it is the importance of being prepared for a wildfire."

Wildfire Safety Fair schedule from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: