Highlands Brush Fire Questions Answered
Before the Highlands community meeting at Calvary Christian Church on Tuesday evening, Circling the News posted the following questions. More than 160 people attended and LAFD Captains Armando Hogan and Orin Saunders fielded questions.
The responses from the meeting follow each question.
Q. Given the spotty cell-phone reception in the Highlands and parts of Pacific Palisades and knowing that a major problem with the Camp Fire was lack of notification, will there be a reverse warning 911 system in case of a rapidly moving fire over the Santa Monica Mountains.
A. Landlines will be used, but in the event of an evacuation, police and firefighters would be driving the area with loudspeakers. There was an acknowledgement that this was not a perfect situation, especially with questionable cell service.
Q. Is there an evacuation plan in place for Highlands residents?
A. It hasn’t been done. Mandeville Canyon residents are trying an evacuation drill. The fire department could try one in the Highlands, but there is no date commitment at this time.
Q. How will senior citizens be helped out of the area, given the large number of those who died in the Camp Fire? Given this statistic, is the proposed eldercare facility a good choice for this area.
A. The LAFD does not decide what goes into a community, that decision was made by others. A firefighter’s job is to work with what they have.
Q. If Palisades Drive is closed for either an accident, fire on the hills or boulders dropping, is there an alternative?
A. If flames jump Palisades Drive, firefighters will do their best to get residents out as quickly as possible. If it becomes impossible for some people to leave, they will have to shelter in place with the fire department doing everything they can to protect those people.
Although local firefighters are aware of the Lachman Lane exit, they have told Circling the News (off the record) that this narrow road could easily be engulfed with flames and did not consider it a good alternative. At the meeting, Hogan promised to take another look at the “escape route” in the upper Highlands, and report back.
Steve Cron, the Highlands area representative on the Community Council, said the meeting was recorded and hopes to have it on the internet soon, so that those who were unable to attend could view it.