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August 8
1769 - Portolá expedition crosses Newhall Pass at Elsmere Canyon, camps at Chaguayanga village (Rye Canyon/Castaic Junction). [story]
Portola


Commentary by Asst. Chief Gregory Hisel
| Thursday, Jul 2, 2015

gregoryhiselThe recent Calgrove Fire, which began June 24 and burned more than 400 acres, provides an opportunity to thank the residents of Santa Clarita as well as an opportunity to share lessons learned.

With fire surrounding many homes and flame lengths up to 100 feet, many were able to see first-hand the serious threat we face living in the wildland urban interface. At the peak of the fire, 1,000 people were evacuated and more than 500 homes and numerous livestock were affected by the threat.

Los Angeles County firefighters responded quickly in large numbers as a third-alarm brush response was requested soon after the fire began. We were supported by numerous fire agencies including Los Angeles (City) Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service and many others. We also would like to acknowledge the support and hard work of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Santa Clarita Station and the California Highway Patrol, as well as the support of the city of Santa Clarita during the incident.

At the peak of the fire, the air attack included seven helicopters, four air tankers and two lead planes responsible for coordinating the air traffic. The work of crews on the ground, numerous engines and strike teams, along with fire patrols and water tenders replenishing water to the engines allowed for a constant and coordinated fire attack from the air and the ground.

After a thorough damage inspection report provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Damage Inspection Team, it was learned the value of homes saved was over $15 million.

There is no doubt the aggressive efforts of our highly trained firefighters made the difference in the outstanding work to save hundreds of homes. In addition, no residents were injured and no lives were lost. One firefighter did suffer burns but is expected to make a full recovery.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the homeowners living in the affected areas of the Calgrove Fire. Without your cooperation to provide the proper brush clearance around your homes, the outcomes may have been far different and even devastating.

Proper brush clearance is your No. 1 defense against the threat of fire, and it provides our firefighters the buffer needed to protect your home during a wildland fire, as you witnessed on June 24 and June 25.

In addition, we are aware of the inconvenience you suffer when you are asked to evacuate. We work closely with the Sheriff’s Department to protect you when it is necessary to call for evacuations. And it is a primary goal to get homeowners back into their homes as soon as it is deemed safe. We would like to thank the community for cooperating with the evacuation orders. Evacuations allow our firefighters to focus on structure protection and provide for the safety of those first responders battling the blaze.

As we go forward into the summer months and especially into fall, we are expecting a challenging “fire season.” We encourage all residents in the Santa Clarita Valley to pick up a copy of the “Ready! Set! Go!” guide from your local fire station. The guide will tell you how to prepare for an emergency and will help protect you, your family and your home.

On behalf of your Los Angeles County Fire Department, we thank you for your support, preparation and cooperation.

 

Gregory Hisel is assistant fire chief, North Regional Operations Bureau Division III, Los Angeles County Fire Department.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Debbie Rodriguez says:

    A huge thank you to all the firefighters on the ground and in the air, to all our neighbors close to our barn and to the Sherriff dept for escorting our trailors full of horses out of all the caous. Words could never express how grateful we all are. Over 50 horses safely evacuated that are more than just animals to us they are too our family

  2. How was it started?

  3. My house was saved, the firefighters are amazing!

  4. Kory Abel Kory Abel says:

    Much respect all you firefighters

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