Fire Safe News

Kensington neighbors take wildfire prevention measures

On October 9, 2023, NBC’s local news aired this story about how Kensington is preparing for a possible wildfire. The story features our own Kensington Fire Safe co-chair Judy Harrington. Watch the story here.

Fire Safe News

Free Home Assessment Program!

Fire Safe News

Celebrating the Fall 2023 Dumpathon

The story is simple. We provide the dumpsters, you provide the fire fuel in the form of your canyon and yard trimmings. We haul away over 15 tons of potentially flammable green waste and that makes Kensington safer from wildfire. When all the work is done we come together as a community to celebrate our achievement. The Fall 2023 Dumpathon marked yet another success!

A huge round of applause for our 15 dedicated dumpster-minders, the unsung heroes who graciously allowed us to place a dumpster in front of their homes for ten days. While we weren’t able to capture a photo of everyone, we extend heartfelt gratitude to all the volunteers. Here’s a glimpse of some of our remarkable individuals:

After hauling away over 15 tons of fire fuel from our neighborhood, we deserved a celebration! Terri Mathes, a board member, opened her doors to our community, inviting us to celebrate our accomplishment at her and her husband Jim and wonderful dog Hawkeye’s charming residence.

Guest were warmly greeted by board member Ryan Hunter and his husband J.B.

The celebration was graced with a fantastic array laid out by the Kensington Fire Safe board. The tantalizing spread was a sight to behold.

“And the Oscar goes to…” Each dumpster-minder was presented an “Oscar” as a token of appreciation for their exceptional service to the community, accompanied by a bottle of wine, graciously donated by the KFS board.

The highlight of the event was the arrival of our esteemed guests, the members of Fire Station 18. Their presence was an acknowledgment of our collective commitment to fire safety. They offered their heartfelt thanks before they were urgently called away.

With renewed spirits, guests enjoyed the remainder of the gathering, fostering a sense of camaraderie and community spirit that resonated throughout the celebration.

The Fall 2023 Dumpathon was more than just a cleanup; it was a testament to unity, shared responsibility, and the significance of coming together as a community for a safer future.

Funding for the Dumpathon is provided by The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, SDG&E, The San Diego River Conservancy and Kensington residents.

Community Presentations Fire Safe News

Home Owner Insurance Presentation

It was standing room only at KFS’s February 11, 2023 home owner insurance presentation by Scott Caraveo.  The crowd had great questions about the challenges of finding coverage in California!

Here’s an iPhone video of Scott’s talk in two parts.

View part 1.

View part 2.

If you have additional questions – please send them to us at (along with suggestions for future presentations or other fire-related questions you may have for us).

Community Recognition Fire Safe News

KFS Awarded $8000 SAFE Grant for Dumpathon

(Photo: Pictured above from left is Penny Newell, Senior Communications Manager for SDG&E, who has been extremely helpful in securing funding for KFS, along with KFS board members, Amy Dyson, Vicki Pinkus and Judy Harrington.)

KFS is proud to announce we were awarded an $8,000 SAFE grant by the Fire Safe Council of SD County, for our dumpster program, and our co-chairs were recognized with a volunteer of the year award! FSC-SDC programs is funded by the San Diego River Conservancy, United States Forest Service, SDG&E, and the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County as well as donations from private individuals.

Fire Safe News

Memorial Day Parade 2022

The Kensington Memorial Day Parade was a roaring success! We were Entry #3 right behind “our” Fire Station 18 fire truck. “Our Firefighters” say howdy and thanks to all!

 Although the photos don’t show the very large crowds that were just a couple of blocks south of Ridgeway on Marlborough Drive, thanks to my amazing early teen “helpers,” Aliana and Nikki, we gave out 98 beautiful Dumpathon flyers to very interested onlookers in just 5 blocks. 

Dozens and dozens of onlookers cheered us on, and I shouted out our website to many parade onlookers.

We may have been the “smallest” entry in the Parade but we certainly were a wee hit!

-Vicki Pinkus, Vice President, KFS Board of Directors

Fire Safe News

1/8″ Screens Placed in Vents and Eaves Can Protect Your Home from Flying Embers

This short video shows how screens can be placed in the spaces under tile roofs to keep out burning embers and protect your home from wildfire.

Please note, 1/8″ screening is recommended, but if you can’t find it, here’s how to protect your home using 1/4″:

In the video the handyman uses TWO 1/4″ screens placed on top of each other at an angle. 1/4″ is a bit too large to block out the embers, but if you use two layers of quarter inch offset from one another you can form a tighter barrier and you’ll be ok.

If you use 1/8″ screen material you should only need one layer.

Fire Safe News Fire-Wise Landscaping

What to do if a neighbor doesn’t trim trees or brush that may be a fire hazard

1. Understand when brush is a potential fire hazard

Check out the “City of San Diego Guide to Fire Safety and Brush Management for Private Property”. It is very specific about a homeowner’s responsibilities for keeping their property free of fire hazards. There are also other resources available on the resource page of our website.

2. Share information

Obviously the first step is to try to talk to you neighbor about the potential danger.  If you think it will help, we can supply you with a hard copy of the guide mentioned above for your neighbor. 

3. Offer to help

Sometimes neighbors will offer to help trim or share the cost of trimming as just the price of also making their own house safer. 

4. Last resort: report

If nothing else works, take a picture, and report the situation on San Diego’s Get It Done site, and/or call the San Diego Fire Hazard Advisor at 619-533-4444.  Complaints are private and not shared or discussed with either party. 

They can send out an inspector, although there may be a wait because there’s a limited number of inspectors serving the whole city.  If they find brush management violations, they will advise the homeowner on corrective action needed and give them time to correct the problems.  If the owner does not correct the violations within the specified time period, the city can issue a citation with fines, and potentially “forced abatement” costing hundreds of dollars.  More info:

If electrical wires are involved, contact SDGE at 1-800-411-7343.  If possible, get the “pole number” which is stamped on a silver marker on each pole. This will give them a precise location.  They have professional arborists who can assess the situation and decide if the tree or tree limbs pose a hazard.  If necessary, they will then arrange for pruning or, if a tree needs to be removed, they can recommend replacement options that won’t interfere with wires as they grow.  They even have a tree replacement program. More info at:

Fire hazards put us all at risk, not just a single homeowner.  By taking action, you are being a responsible citizen and trying to make us all safer.  

On behalf of everyone in our community, thank you for your efforts!

Fire Safe News

Dumpathon – Feb. 17 – 24

We will continually update this blog throughout the Dumpathon.

Funding and support for this project is provided by a grant to the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County from the San Diego River Conservancy.

For information about dumpster locations and remaining capacity click here to visit our Dumpathon page.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022: We’ve had a very successful Dumpathon and estimate we’ve removed 17 tons of flammable green waste from Kensington!

In fact, we were so successful that two of our five dumpsters were completely full before the event even ended, so we had them hauled away early.

A total of four dumpsters were 100% full and one large dumpster was 90% full.

We are so grateful to YOU, our community, for doing your part to keep Kensington safe from wildfires. We’re also grateful for our dumpster-minders for hosting our five dumpsters. And we are especially grateful for our sponsors, The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County and the San Diego River Conservancy.

Take a look at our very full dumpsters:

Thursday, February 17, 2022: The dumpsters arrived today! Board members Vicki Pinkus and Judy Harrington attached our signs to the dumpsters.

This is the first time we’ve held a Dumpathon in February. We’re hoping neighbors will take advantage of the cooler weather to do the hard work of clearing flammable brush from their canyons and yards and dump it in our dumpsters free of charge.

We will continue to hold our Fall Dumpathon this September or October.

Community Recognition Fire Safe News

Councilman Elo-Rivera Awards Kensington Fire Safe

KFS co-chairs Judy Harrington and Amy Dyson, were recognized at The State of the District event on February 12, 2022 for their work making Kensington and the surrounding neighborhoods safer from wildfire. Sean Elo-Rivera, City Council President and Ninth District Councilman, presented them with a Volunteer of the Year award.

“This recognition really belongs to our Kensington residents, who take our message of fire preparedness to heart and take measurable steps to keep their homes and our communities safe,” Amy said.  “They’re the real heroes.” Judy added, “We also couldn’t do what we do without the incredible support of our board who contribute so much time and talent.”

Kensington Fire Safe is grateful for this recognition. Clearly the Kensington Fire Safe mission aligns with the Ninth District community members and has the full support of Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera and his team.