I attended a meeting of the Fire Code Committee on Feb. 11, 2015, sponsored by the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council. The purpose was to hear how the San Bernardino County Mountain Defensible Space Guidelines work. It has three rules: within 15, 30 and 100 feet of a structure.

The illustration they presented showed a typical suburban home with attached garage and four well-spaced deciduous trees on about a 1/3-acre lot. There were no shrubbery screens and no foundation plantings.

Under the Defensible Space Guideline rule 15 feet of structure, I would be required to remove from my lot the following: four manzanitas, three yews, three dwarf spruce, three viburnum, nine Sequoias, one 18-inch-diameter oak tree, one 10-inch-diameter live oak (in my deck), one 11-inch-diameter pine, one 5-inch-diameter pine, one 14-inch-diameter sequoia, two smaller live oaks and some scrub oaks.

My woodpile could not be moved the requisite 30 feet because it would be on my neighbor’s property The result would be a naked home with a greatly reduced property value.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Amendment V, if my “property” is taken from me for “public use” (the safety of the community). then I am entitled to “just compensation.”
If the entire community of Idyllwild is made fire safe according to Defensible Space Guidelines, then the entire community is entitled to just compensation. In my opinion, the San Bernardino County Mountain Defensible Space Guidelines are not applicable to the mountain community of Idyllwild. Many of us moved to Idyllwild because it is not an urbanized community.

William R. Faurot