Thursday, August 8, 2019 - 08:45

(TNS) — After five years of drought, Santa Cruzans became familiar with ways to make their lawns “water wise.”

Now, city public safety officials are hoping to make residents “firewise,” as well.

Santa Cruz Fire Department officials on Wednesday recognized volunteers from the Prospect Heights neighborhood for their efforts to earn Santa Cruz County’s first National Fire Protection Association certification for a Firewise USA program participant.

The seed of an idea to be part of a neighborhood better prepared for a wildland fire-related disaster was planted by Lora Lee Martin in late 2017. The 21-year Prospect Heights resident grew up in Paradise, and her father was later displaced after that city’s devastating Camp Fire in November.

“I’m from Paradise, California, so fire was constantly on our brain. After the Santa Rosa fire, I pigeonholed (City Councilwoman) Cynthia Mathews,” Martin said outside the downtown Santa Cruz fire station. “Sort of the overall goal, besides being prepared, is just overall awareness, because if you don’t know this is going to be a problem, you don’t know to do this stuff.”

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