Area unprepared for next wildfires

San Diego County remains "woefully unprepared" to fight wildfires despite the "wake-up call" provided by two of the most devastating blazes in state history in five years, the county grand jury reported Thursday.

The jury recommended that the San Diego City Council and Board of Supervisors spend more money on fire protection and lead a drive to overcome local opposition to consolidation of small departments.

"Firefighting in San Diego County is a patchwork quilt of city fire departments, local fire protection special districts, volunteer fire departments and county service agencies," the jury said in a report titled "The Fire Next Time -- Will We Be Ready?"

By law, agencies criticized in the report have three months to respond to the presiding judge of the Superior Court.

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-- Tony Perry

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