Public Safety

VIDEO: County Damage Assessment Team Moves Into Lilac Fire Burn Areas

After a wildfire devastates a populated area, it’s time to start the rebuilding process. One of the first groups to visit those areas is a County damage assessment team. They are tasked with documenting any damage to structures so homeowners can start rebuilding.

In addition, the County established a Local Assistance Center (LAC) Monday to help survivors of the Lilac Fire begin the rebuilding and recovery process. The center is at the Vista branch library, located at 700 Eucalyptus Avenue in Vista. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through at least Saturday, Dec. 16.

Services available at the recovery center include case management, crisis counseling and referral services, assistance with tax relief information and records replacement, short term housing referrals, CalFresh/SNAP resources and information, and a mobile medical clinic. Additionally, there is information on residential rebuilding and permitting and consumer fraud.

Service providers at the LAC include: 211 San Diego, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, San Diego Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (SD VOAD), as well as insurance providers. The County of San Diego will have multiple departments present including: Agriculture, Weights and Measures; Air Pollution Control District; Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk, Animal Services, Child Support Services, Environmental Health, the District Attorney, Public Health, Behavioral Health Services, Aging & Independence Services, Housing and Community Development, Planning & Development Services, and Public Works.

Residents who live in the unincorporated part of San Diego County may call the Recovery Assistance Hotline at (858) 495-5200 or email Both will be staffed by County employees from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Residents in incorporated cities looking for recovery assistance are encouraged to contact their city. The County has also launched a Recovery website available at

José Eli Villanueva is a multimedia designer with the County of San Diego Communications Office.