Nine years after the 2007 wildfires, San Diegans still remember the widespread devastation.

  • 10 individual deaths
  • 100+ injuries
  • 2,500+ homes and buildings destroyed

Starting October 21, 2007, seven powerful fires spread throughout the county due to a disastrous combination of ongoing drought and strong Santa Ana winds. At the time, the region was only four years removed from 2003 wildfires that hit our community harder than ever in its history.

And as the 2007 fires grew larger that fall season, the impact quickly became equally as devastating as 2003.

According to the San Diego County After Action Report, the 2007 fires consumed more than 360,000 acres, amounting to approximately 13 percent of the county’s total land mass.

Today, the destruction from the 2003 and 2007 wildfires is a stark reminder of what can happen when disaster strikes our local neighborhoods.

Preparing for Tomorrow

As a community, we know that wildfires are a threat to our quality of life. Due to continued drought and other impacts from climate change, San Diego must remain a resilient region in the face of unexpected disasters in the future.



In 2003 and 2007, The San Diego Foundation took a leadership role by activating the Regional Disaster Fund to help the region respond, recover, rebuild and prepare for when natural or man-made disaster strikes.

The fund served as a critical resource for the region in those times of grave need. In total, the fund granted more than $13 million to help the survivors and those impacted by the wildfires.

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Among the many programs the fund supported was The Salvation Army Project Rebuild. Thanks to grant support from the Regional Disaster Fund, Project Rebuild helped more than 290 families and survivors rebuild their homes that were lost in the fires.

Philanthropy Leading the Way

In the aftermath of the 2003 and 2007 wildfires, philanthropy enabled communities to rebuild and recover faster. Donor support also helped the region as a whole become better prepared for future disasters.

Thanks to the Regional Disaster Fund, San Diego has a well-established, proven means of support when disaster strikes. While we hope to never need to activate the fund again, The San Diego Foundation and our community is prepared in the event that our region faces another disaster.

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