The following article was acquired from the Santa Monica Daily Press website and was written by Emily Sawicki.
Supervisors put Woolsey Fire report to bed
In hot, dry winds, amid drought conditions, the Woolsey Fire of November 2018 spread rapidly through the Santa Monica Mountains, burning nearly 100,000 acres of parched wildlands and neighborhoods alike. The fire killed three area residents.
Before embers had cooled, public outcry arose alleging failure by all levels of government. In response, LA County Supervisors launched an investigation into the man-made issues surrounding the fire — from preparation to emergency response and everything in between — commissioning an extensive after-action report, which came in the form of a 203-page review by the independent consulting firm Citygate Associates, LLC. Published in November 2019, that review also included 86 recommendations for improvements.
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, LA County Supervisors voted unanimously, 5-0, to lay the report to rest. [Supervisor Sheila] Kuehl emphasized that the report’s findings would be useful to help prepare for and respond to future disasters.
“The plan included 86 recommendations and I’m happy to report that 80 percent of those have already now been implemented,” Kuehl said at the meeting. “They will go on to improve overall safety during states of emergency countywide.”
Tuesday’s motion described the ongoing work toward improvements: “During the last quarter of 2021, Citygate conducted one-on-one meetings with representatives from the principal departments to discuss in depth the progress made by each department. Based on Citygate’s assessment (and as detailed in the attached final report), the departments have completed 81 percent of the recommendations in the AAP [after action plan] despite the disruption and workload increase caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“So, although there’s plenty of work still to be done, you can see that improvements have been made, both on the ground and system wide,” Kuehl said, adding, “My heartfelt gratitude to OEM [Office of Emergency Management]; they are going to take up the torch of overseeing the remaining recommendations and all the departments that are really put forth an effort to continuously improve safety for all of our county residents.”
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