Residents who lost their homes in the massive Station fire reacted with frustration to what they called forest officials’ slow progress in improving wildfire-response capabilities.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) called the public meeting at the Altadena Library on Thursday to brief residents on steps that the U.S. Forest Service had taken to improve its firefighting resources amid an ongoing investigation into the agency’s initial failure to extinguish hot spots before flames spread to consume 160,000 acres, burning nearly 90 homes and killing two county firefighters.
Tom Harbour, the Forest Service’s fire and aviation director, said officials have yet to determine firefighting policy changes in response to shortcomings during the Station fire, including whether to beef up the number of nighttime firefighting aircraft and flight crews at its disposal.
The agency has 18 aging planes and no crews at the ready to fly them at night.
For many of the nearly four dozen people crowded into the library for the briefing, that wasn’t good enough.