Public Safety

Lilac Fire Local Assistance Center to Close Tuesday

The County of San Diego plans to close the Local Assistance Center at the Vista Library at 6 p.m. Tuesday, but will continue to run its email and Recovery Assistance Hotline, at (858) 495-5200. The Vista library will also continue to offer tables with brochures and information.

The center opened last week to help those impacted by the Lilac fire. Numerous County departments, state agencies and volunteer organizations helped 269 households start their recovery processes at the center from the day it opened Monday, Dec. 11 through 6 p.m. Saturday.

The assistance center was designed to make starting the recovery process as easy as possible for people. The library was filled with as many County departments, state departments, volunteer groups and organizations as possible to help people who lost homes, parts of homes, or had to deal with evacuating their properties and animals during the Lilac fire.

Some of the services County departments offered people included: information about their homes, properties and permits; connection to crisis counseling; CalFresh (food stamp) cards; first aid; free pet food and help with animals; information about property tax relief; short-term housing referrals; and copies of vital records.

People could also get copies of driver’s licenses and identification from the state Department of Motor Vehicles; and case management and help from the American Red Cross and San Diego VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster).

The County’s Department of Planning and Development Services issued 36 permits while the center was open. Thirty four of those were Emergency Temporary Occupancy Permits, which allow people to put trailers or other temporary living accommodations on their property while they rebuild.

The County’s Board of Supervisors voted last week to waive fees for building permits and plan checks for Lilac fire survivors.

The County’s Recovery Assistance Hotline will operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After hours, people can leave messages, which will be returned within 24 hours.

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