LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A new LA County report finds that local agencies were overwhelmed by last year’s Woolsey Fire and that communication with the public needs to be improved.
The preliminary report, prepared by a consulting firm hired by LA County, is being presented over several public meetings.READ MORE: Residents Call For Change Following Death Of ER Nurse Sandra Shells
The County says they want the public’s input before the report is finalized. Citizens can make their voice heard through November 8 by going to a public meeting or commenting on the County’s official website.
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl says evacuation procedures were among the issues she wanted addressed. Many residents impacted by the fire have said they never received electronic notifications from authorities telling them to leave.READ MORE: LeBron Scores 25 As Lakers End Three-Game Skid, Beat Jazz, 101-95
“They didn’t know,” Kuehl said at a public meeting, “If they were getting their cell phone service through the internet they weren’t going to get it when the electricity went out and many of them who signed up didn’t get evacuation notices. ”
Kuehl says the County is looking at a top to bottom review of how the County responded: “How resources were deployed, including water and its sufficiency or insufficiency in the moment.”
Some of the key conclusions of the report include:
- The fire moved so fast it outpaced even the most experienced departments
- Extensive infrastructure damage impacted operations and created confusion for residents trying to flee the fire
- A lack of mutual aid due to other massive fires burning across the state at the same time