San Diego residents, especially those living near open space, should take measures to help protect their homes from fires this season — and on Monday, July 7, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Mark Kersey issued a reminder to that effect.
“Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Faulconer said. “The city is doing its part by increasing funding for brush management efforts within our open-space parks and canyons. Homeowners also must take common-sense steps to protect themselves, because we are all in this together.”
“Fires can go from bad to worse in a very short time,” Kersey said, “so firefighters need every advantage they can get in order to successfully protect homes. It is critical that homeowners are proactive in doing their part so, in turn, firefighters can do their jobs more effectively.”
Kersey represents the city's 5th District, in which the Bernardo fires burned 1,500 acres last May.
The city’s brush-management regulations require all homes in wildland-urban interface areas to have 100 feet of defensible space and for homeowners to take other precautions to help prevent the spread of wildfires, including trimming of trees and clearing debris from roofs and gutters. In coming months, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department will be conducting door-to-door inspections to help educate residents and make sure they are properly clearing brush around their homes.
San Diego has more than 500 linear miles of wildland-urban interface in which backyards meet the native-naturalized vegetation in canyons and other open-space areas. At the same time, years of drought have increased the flammability of vegetation.
For information on how to properly prepare or wildfires, download the City’s Brush Management Guide at sandiego.gov/fire/pdf/brushpdf.pdf.
M.E. PROBES FATAL SHOOTING OF TEEN AT FIESTA ISLAND
The county Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to issue a determination on the exact cause of death of a 12-year-old Boy Scout from Nevada who died of a gunshot wound during a camping trip at Fiesta Island on June 30.
Officers were called to the 1000 block of Fiesta Island Road shortly after 7:30 a.m. to find the boy inside a tent, suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his upper torso.
According to police Lt. Mike Hastings, medical intervention was unsuccessful and the boy was pronounced dead at the scene. A handgun was found near the body.
The preliminary investigation revealed the male was part of a Boy Scout troop from Las Vegas. The troop was in San Diego for a weeklong camping trip and arrived on June 29.
Crisis intervention workers, along with clergy, were sent to the scene to assist.
Investigators from the police department’s Homicide Unit, Child Abuse Unit and Northern Division conducted witness interviews to ascertain how a gun became involved in the case, but the handgun issue remains under investigation.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Homicide Unit or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
PB MAN CONVICTED OF TAX EVASION, ID THEFT
A federal jury has convicted a Pacific Beach man of two counts of tax evasion and seven counts of aggravated identity theft when he took on the identities of long-dead children to hide his gold and other assets from the Internal Revenue Service.
In a five-day trial that began June 24, the U.S. District Court jury deliberated about 50 minutes before finding Lloyd Irvin Taylor, 71, guilty on all charges June 30.
The jury also convicted Taylor of making false statements on U.S. passport applications. which bore the names of the deceased children, and seven counts of making false statements to banks. He was also convicted of committing a corrupt endeavor to impede the IRS.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 29.
Taylor, a former certified public accountant, could face at least 50 years in federal prison.
The U.S. government seized about $1.6 million in gold coins from his assets in off-shore bank accounts.
Taylor formed more than a dozen fraudulent tax-exempt religious groups and opened 31 bank and investment accounts in the names of fake churches, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
— Neal Putnam
DUIs, BEACH RESCUES MAKE FOR BUSY HOLIDAY WEEKEND
Lifeguards and law-enforcment officers were kept on their toes during the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The California Highway Patrol reported 87 arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence in the general area as well as one fatality.
Meanwhile, lifeguards were kept busy keeping watch over an estimated 460,000 beachgoers over the long weekend.
In all, there were nearly 470 rescues made and more than 400 cases of medical-aid assistance, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.