New Wildfire Task Force Proposed by L.A. City Council Members

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Several members of the Los Angeles City Council proposed today that a task force be formed to consider new solutions to fighting and preventing destructive wildfires. As outlined in a motion introduced by Councilman Mike Bonin and seconded by three other council members, the task force would examine street width requirements, parking restrictions, the effectiveness of emergency alert systems and evacuation plans, current building codes and standards, and the need for stricter enforcement of construction activities on narrow roads, among other issues. 

The motion comes as firefighters are still battling the Woolsey Fire, which erupted Nov. 8 in Ventura County and quickly spread into Los Angeles County. The fire has charred at least 96,949 acres over a large swath of land that includes Thousand Oaks, Bell Canyon, West Hills, Calabasas and Malibu and is 96 percent contained.

``The last two fire seasons not only underscore the grave threat that wildfires pose to our neighborhoods, but they have also demonstrated how these wind-driven events can wipe out entire communities and take many lives in the process,'' the motion states. 

If the motion is approved by the full council, the Los Angeles Fire Department and Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst would be directed to jointly assemble and lead the Wildlife-Urban Interface Hazard Mitigation Task Force, consisting of representatives of the Police, Emergency Management, Transportation, Recreation and Parks, Animal Services, Water and Power and various other city departments, as well as the Information Technology Agency, to draft a written report to the City Council. 

The motion also says the city should consider if high-voltage overhead transmission and distribution lines need to be shut off during high wind events, and if the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone needs to be expanded beyond its currently defined boundaries encompassing 133 square miles.

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