Report: LA wildfire’s threat was missed

Report: LA wildfire’s threat was missed

27 September 2009

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Firefighters underestimated the threat posed by a wildfire that broke out near Los Angeles, which allowed it to get out of hand, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The newspaper said Sunday that records of the Station Fire, which continued to burn Sunday in the Angeles National Forest, showed that the blaze initially was not considered to be as potentially serious as it turned out to be.

“We felt we had sufficient resources,” Angeles Forest Fire Chief David Conklin told the Times. “There’s always that lesson. We’ll always have that in the back of our minds.”

Conklin and his U.S. Forest Service commanders determined that they would need only three helicopters and fewer firefighters on the ground when the blaze broke out Aug. 26.

Los Angeles County also committed fewer resources on the belief the fire was not a threat to residential area near La Canada Flintridge.

Conklin and other officials said that by the second day, the flames had gotten into steep canyon terrain that made it very difficult for ground crews to attack it.

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