Politicians’ Requests to Check on Specific Homes Complicated LAFD’s Response to Woolsey Fire, Report Says

Firefighters monitor a house fully engulfed on Mountain Crest Circle in Thousand Oaks early Nov. 9. The Woolsey fire destroyed more than 1,600 structures in L.A. and Ventura counties, many of which were homes. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Firefighters monitor a house fully engulfed on Mountain Crest Circle in Thousand Oaks early Nov. 9. The Woolsey fire destroyed more than 1,600 structures in L.A. and Ventura counties, many of which were homes. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Fire Department officials said their response to the massive Woolsey fire was complicated by requests from local politicians, according to a document reviewed by The Times.

“A significant number of requests by political figures to check on specific addresses of homes to ensure their protection distracted from Department leadership to accomplish priority objectives,” according to the LAFD’s after-action review on the Woolsey fire, which was the most destructive blaze in Los Angeles County’s modern history.

The Woolsey fire started Nov. 8 at the former Santa Susana Field Lab, burning next to the Ventura County-Los Angeles county line and near L.A. city limits. More than 1,600 structures from Westlake Village and Oak Park down to Malibu were destroyed, and at least four people died.

Since then, there have been questions about how the fire was fought, particularly during its rapid spread in its first 24 hours. The Times in January reported a lack of resources and planning in the first hours of the blaze.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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