Antonovich: U.S. Forest Service’s 3-Year Delay Is Endangering Life And Property

Supervisor Mike Antonovich, News Net file photo, copyright 2010

Press Release posted 7/14/12 – LOS ANGELES COUNTY – “It has been nearly three years since the Station Fire devastated most of the Angeles National Forest and killed two Los Angeles County firefighters, and the U. S. Forest Service continues to ignore experts’ recommendations to change its nighttime aerial firefighting policy,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.  “It is imperative that significant structural changes are made before the next major wildfire destroys more of our National Forests, personal property or any more lives.”

Congressional hearings and the Government Accountability Office’s report revealed that it was the U.S. Forest Service, as the lead agency, that failed to communicate effectively, and forced other agencies to stand idly by as the boots-on-the-ground waited for orders to proceed from its command center in Idaho.

On a motion by Supervisor Antonovich, the Board of Supervisors will send another five-signature letter to the United States Secretary of Agriculture asking that the Forest Service adopt Los Angeles County Fire Department recommendations, which were approved unanimously by the Board in 2009, that included nighttime air attacks, procedural changes, tougher brush clearance requirements and the use of mechanized firefighting equipment.