L.A. Fire Officials to Track Homeless Encampments in High-Risk Zones After Skirball Fire Was Sparked at One

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Social service workers knew that homeless people sometimes lived in a ravine near Sepulveda Boulevard and the 405 Freeway — the suspected ignition point of a wildfire that scorched Bel-Air last month — but the encampment was never on the fire department’s radar.

A car charred by the Skirball Fire in Bel-Air sits at the end of Linda Flora Drive. (Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

A car charred by the Skirball Fire in Bel-Air sits at the end of Linda Flora Drive. (Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

On Friday, fire officials said they would begin surveying encampments in about 20% of the city, including Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Sherman Oaks, Sunland-Tujunga and Mt. Washington.

“We want those people in these [fire] zones to voluntarily move,” Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said. “It’s as clear cut as that. This is a public safety issue, this is a trespassing issue.”

The survey, which should take about a week to complete, is part of a broader effort to clear the makeshift homes hidden in Los Angeles’ hillsides and ravines, and prevent accidental blazes. The effort comes amid a surge in the city’s homeless population and rising concern over wildfire risk.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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