Wildfire threat becomes tool to fight home builders

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Numerous homes at Rancho Monserate are left in ruins after the Lilac Fire ripped through Bonsall, Dec. 7. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo
Michael Phillis and Suman NaishadhamThe Associated PressPreston Brown knows the risk of wildfire that comes with living in the rural, chaparral-lined hills of San Diego County. He’s lived there for 21 years and evacuated twice.That’s why he fiercely opposed a plan to build more than 1,100 homes in a fire-prone area, which he said would be difficult to evacuate safely. Brown sits on the local planning commission, and he said the additional people would clog the road out.“It’s a very rough area,” Brown said. “We have fires all the time now.”Opponents like Brown, a member of the Sierra Club and California Native Plant Society, scored a win last year. A California court sided with a coalition of environmental groups and blocked a developer’s plan called Otay
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