I am writing this before the joint announcement by L.A. Co. Fire Chief Daryl Osby and L.A. Co. Public Works Director Mark Pestrella regarding Fire Flow Capacity of Fire Rebuilds. I’m hoping that their new Standards will allow all the homes damaged by the Woolsey fire to be rebuilt in a timely fashion.
Unfortunately, there are some remaining issues that will impact rebuilds that need to be addressed. In most cases this will also result in a more resilient community.
1. We still need the Water infrastructure contemplated in the March 2016 EIR to allow the rebuilds in Encinal Canyon/La Chusa Highlands area.
2. We need to build the other Water System improvement listed in the March 2016 Water System EIR. This act will prepare other areas to better resist future fires. We raised our water rates for this purpose over 5 years ago and should get the benefits.
3. Several people who are contemplating rebuilds would like to have a private water tank on their property to guarantee availability of firefighting and/or drinking water in a future emergency. They would benefit from a code that allows the construction of private water tanks within the “setbacks”, back, side or front. Even 1,500 gallons can make a huge difference.
4. Part of the reason that the evacuation was a disaster was the power failure that made gas stations unusable. Some people trying to evacuate ran out of gas in the 6 hour traffic jam. The people that stayed behind to save their homes and neighborhoods needed gasoline to run their own generators and save their stored food. The City of Malibu needs to develop a program that motivates the 6 gasoline stations within the City Limits to retrofit their stations with emergency generators. We shouldn’t need full gas cans brought in by boat because there is no way to access the gasoline in the storage tanks. Each emergency generator could be purchased and installed in the $40,000 to $60,000 price range. How much of a subsidy would we have to offer the station owners to retrofit their stations?
5. We need a program that guarantees access during an emergency for people who work in the medical, food and fuel sectors of our City. These people can do a great job of supporting the first responders and Citizen Heros who stayed to fight the fires, If we let them get to the supplies.