Today LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl introduced a motion to convene a working group to review the response to and recovery from the Woolsey Fire and to identify best practices for evacuation and repopulation procedures.
The Woolsey Fire, an unprecedented, fast-moving brush fire that was 14 miles wide, with a footprint of 150 square miles, and driven by gusts of up to 70 mph, was the most destructive fire L.A. County has ever seen. It moved from the 101 Freeway to the Pacific Ocean in just five hours. Seventy thousand homes, businesses, and other structures lay in the fire’s path, and a quarter of a million people were evacuated.
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents most of the Woolsey Fire-affected areas and is author of the motion, said, “Prolonged drought, coupled with other effects of climate change, combined with increases in residential housing in high-risk fire areas poses an unprecedented danger to firefighters and to residents. LA County must prepare for a ‘new normal.’”
The motion, which will be voted on at next week’s Board meeting, directs the County to review existing prevention regulations and emergency notification systems, and identify lessons learned and what can be done to improve emergency response. The motion asks for specific review of the cause and origin of the fire, the deployment of firefighting resources as the fire progressed, the distribution and adequacy of firefighting resources, evacuation notification and procedures, strategic communications during the fire and its aftermath, and community repopulation notification and procedures.
In a related action, the Supervisors also approved a motion that allows people to live temporarily on their property in RVs or mobile homes and waives building fees.
Today’s motions follow on the heels of two earlier motions, approved last week, to speed the recovery process for residents affected by the Woolsey Fire.