Public Safety

County Closing San Marcos Fire Recovery Office, Keeping Hotlines Open

The County of San Diego plans to close the recovery office it set up in San Marcos during last week’s fires at 5 p.m. Friday, as the number of visitors has dropped dramatically.

The County will continue to operate the special telephone hotline and email account it created to help people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the blazes.

The hotline number, (619) 929-4736, and email address, are active and staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

County officials said staff had helped more than 50 people at the Recovery Liaison Office since it was opened May 16 at the County Library’s San Marcos Branch at 2 Civic Center Drive in San Marcos. The office operated from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with two staff and a behavioral health specialist from the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.

The recovery office, hotline and email account have helped people get free building permits and rebuilding information and help in several other areas: how to remove waste and debris; and how fire survivors could get temporary property tax relief; how to clear ash from swimming pools and properties; how to safely handle food if their properties sustained power outages; where to go for crisis counseling; help in finding or reporting lost pets.

The recovery office also issued three Emergency Temporary Occupancy Permits, which make recovery easier for people whose homes were destroyed by allowing them to stay on their property in temporary shelters.

Darren Gretler, County of San Diego Fire Recovery Manager, said that 15 to 25 people visited the recovery office each day over the weekend, but that the numbers had dropped to two to three people per day this week.

He said the County’s hotline and email line were handling six to 10 calls a day.

Gretler said the County had successfully reached 25 of the 33 people whose homes — located in the unincorporated areas governed by the County — had been destroyed and assigned them individual County contacts to help them recover and begin the rebuilding process.

The County Board of Supervisors officially waived all building permit and plan-check review fees for fire survivors this week to make it easier for people to rebuild.

Although the County is closing the recovery office, it plans to leave recovery-related handouts at the library and post the hotline number and email address.

More fire recovery information is available at



Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact