Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl called Tuesday for a review of the Woolsey Fire, including its cause, how firefighting resources were deployed and the effectiveness of emergency alerts during and in the wake of the massive blaze.
After first acknowledging that the fire resulted in “a minimal loss of life for which we’re very grateful,” Kuehl told her colleagues, “The public has a lot of questions.”
The 96,949-acre fire — which broke out Nov. 8 in Ventura County and quickly spread into Los Angeles County — killed three people, injured three firefighters, destroyed 1,643 structures and damaged 364 others. The blaze was 100 percent contained on Nov. 21.
Previewing a motion she plans to formally bring for a vote of the Board of Supervisors next week, Kuehl highlighted concerns about procedures used for evacuations, firefighting processes and decisions made about repopulating burn areas.
Kuehl proposed that a working group be assembled with representatives from all agencies involved, including from Ventura County and Cal Fire, as well as representatives from affected cities and unincorporated communities.
She also recommended hiring an outside consultant to review efforts related to the fire.
“The county needs to review existing prevention regulations and emergency notification systems, and look to lessons learned and what we can do better moving forward” to prepare for a “new normal” in wildfires, according to Kuehl’s motion.
Separately, the board voted unanimously to waive all county planning application and review fees for residents seeking to rebuild properties damaged by fire.
At Kuehl’s recommendation, the board also asked its lawyers to draft an ordinance allowing displaced residents to live in recreational vehicles on fire-destroyed sites for up to one year, subject to minimum standards for electrical, water and sewage connections.