Leaders mark 10th anniversary of deadly 2007 wildfires in San Di - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Leaders mark 10th anniversary of deadly 2007 wildfires in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Dianne Jacob joined fire officials and others Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of one of the worst fire seasons in state history.

The October 2007 wildfires in San Diego County killed seven people, destroyed thousands of structures and burned 580 square miles.

They discussed local improvements in fire protection since 2007 and how the Northern California fires are a reminder of the dangers our region faces year-round.

The county’s Office of Emergency Services will release the results of a new survey on the level of preparedness among residents. The survey includes some troubling numbers.

A recent survey shows that only 50 percent of San Diegans indicated that they were ready to evacuate their homes within 15 minutes. That is down from 74 percent in 2007. Then only 38 percent said they had an emergency plan, which is down from 50 percent. 

County Supervisor Diane Jacob said Wednesday these numbers are clearly moving in the wrong direction, which is very concerning. 

"We upped the game with our emergency operations center, more boots on the ground, more resources, more fire trucks at the ready at any moment," County Supervisor Jacob said.

County leaders stressed over and over that it's time for everyone at home to do their part because the city of San Diego has done theirs by investing in over 400 million dollars worth of resources.

Among all the wildfires, the two largest were located in San Diego County. The largest, the Witch Creek Fire, burned areas in north and northeast San Diego County with Rancho Bernardo being the hardest hit area. The second largest, the Harris Fire, burned northwest from the U.S-Mexico border towards San Diego.

Two days into the Witch Creek Fire, approximately 500,000 people from at least 346,000 homes were under mandatory orders to evacuate, the largest evacuation in the region's history.

In fact, on October 24, 2007, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Kolender stated that the number of people evacuated in San Diego county had exceeded the number evacuated from New Orleans, Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina.

Nearly all public schools and universities in the San Diego area were closed. Many businesses closed as well. 

The California Highway Patrol even closed Interstate 15 in both directions between State Routes 78 and 56. 

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