Interim OCFA Chief Acknowledges Response To Canyon Fire 2 Could Have Been Faster

IRVINE (CBSLA)   —  Following nearly a week of criticism of his agency’s response to Canyon Fire 2, Orange County Fire Authority Interim Chief Patrick McIntosh announced today that he will ask his agency’s board of directors on Thursday to authorize an independent review of the authority’s actions when the blaze broke out.

OCFA officials uncovered information about a call to the California Highway Patrol at 8:28 a.m. on Oct. 9, reporting flames in the area where the 9,200-acre blaze broke out near the Riverside (91) Freeway and Gypsum Canyon Road, McIntosh said.

Early that morning, OCFA sent fire trucks from a station in Yorba Linda to help firefighters in the deadly Northern California wildfires, McIntosh said. That meant officials had to send out a call to off-duty firefighters in the agency to backfill that station, he added.

Personnel at the station, who were not authorized to drive a truck to the blaze, were asked to go “take a quick look outside” to see if it was serious, McIntosh said.

The workers didn’t see any active flames but did say they saw “a lot of ash.” MacIntosh said.

At 9:27 a.m., another motorist passing by Gypsum Canyon Road reported seeing flames east of the 91 and south of the 241 in the burned-out area of the first Canyon Fire, McIntosh said.

At that time, firefighters from another station near the Yorba Linda station were sent to do a “smoke check,” McIntosh said. They reported a spot in the burned-out area, he added.

The fire chief said he thinks “things could have been done differently” that morning, but wanted to leave it up to an independent
reviewer to make recommendations before getting too specific about criticism.

McIntosh also said his investigators have all but ruled out that a fire reported by Anaheim police the evening before at Sierra Peak could have sparked the Canyon Fire 2 blaze, which destroyed 25 structures and injured four.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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