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Grants fund Forest Fire Lookout Association, Bonsall Rotary

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 October 13 to fund nine projects with Neighborhood Reinvestment Grants from the District Five budget, including the Bonsall Rotary Club’s Wine Brews & Blues Festival and repairs and restorations for Forest Fire Lookout Association lookout stations.

The San Diego-Riverside chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association will receive $40,000 to cover part of the costs to repair and restore fire lookout stations in San Diego County, while the Bonsall Rotary Club will be given $10,000 for various festival expenses.

The Forest Fire Lookout Association’s San Diego-Riverside chapter was formed with the purpose of restoring and staffing the remaining fire lookouts within or around the Cleveland National Forest.

In the event of a fire, lookouts notify land management agencies, and the Forest Fire Lookout Association also provides members of the public with information.

“They do a tremendous job giving us early warning,” said Supervisor Bill Horn.

Horn provided the discretionary funding for the Forest Fire Lookout Association, the Bonsall Rotary Club, and the seven other organizations.

Each county supervisor has a $2 million Neighborhood Reinvestment Program budget which provides grants to nonprofit organizations for the furtherance of public purposes at the regional and community levels.

In addition to nonprofit organizations, county supervisors have also funded schools and fire departments, and some supervisors have also used money from their Community Projects budgets to supplement other county funding for specific county projects such as parks, roads, and libraries.

The program, which was initiated in 1999, was called the Community Projects Program before being renamed this September.

Each county supervisor recommends the allocation of his or her Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds, although those allocations must be approved by a majority of the Board of Supervisors.

“We’re still preparing for fire prevention,” said Horn.

Although many former lookout towers were dismantled, the Forest Fire Lookout Association’s San Diego-Riverside chapter plans to utilize the Boucher Hill and High Point towers on Palomar Mountain, the Red Mountain tower in eastern Fallbrook, the Estelle Mountain tower in southwestern Riverside County, the Hot Springs tower on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation near Warner Springs, the Lyons Peak tower near Jamul, and the Los Pinos tower near Lake Morena.

The Bonsall Rotary Club’s 15th annual Wine Brews & Blues Festival will take place in May and is the Rotary chapter’s major fundraiser.

The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funding will cover venue, marketing, travel, food, entertainment, professional services, and supply costs for the fundraiser.


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