Jeff Shelton of the Orange County Fire Authority talks to a room full of homeowners about new Cal Fire fire hazard maps Tuesday night in Mission Viejo.
The Mission Viejo City Council has plans on Monday to consider approval of the state’s new fire hazard maps. A meeting about the maps attracted angry and frustrated homeowners last week.
Under the state’s old fire hazard maps, only about 30 Mission Viejo homes fell into the red “high danger” zone. But the new maps consider the flow of embers, meaning a full 3,000 homes have been added to the danger zone.
Homeowners are worried that the new maps will lead to higher insurance rates and lower property values.
Scott Whelchel is with the California Homeowners Association. He says he and other homeowners groups also worry about what that means for the associations — whether they’ll have to do more to maintain public areas.
"Califia is 55 acres," says Whelchel. "And in that 55 acres, I think there’s about 380 Eucalyptus trees. There’s over 700 pine trees, all of which, while beautiful, obviously can be a fire concern. And we are backed up to an open area, which is obviously the no brainer why we’re a red zone now."
Mission Viejo homeowners packed an informational meeting last week. Many expressed frustration that they didn’t have a say in drafting the maps.
Under state law, city councils and county boards must approve the Cal Fire fire maps. Some cities, including Tustin, have refused to approve them.