LA Councilman Wants to Pause Construction in Hillside, At-Risk Fire Areas

LOS ANGELES - Councilman David Ryu introduced a motion today to temporarily halt construction in sensitive hillside areas within the Los Angeles Fire Department's “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.''

The motion, seconded by Councilman Paul Koretz, calls for a halt in construction on narrow hillside roads in fire-sensitive areas until Nov. 30.

“This is a fire season like no other in our history, and Los Angeles is at unprecedented risk,'' Ryu said. “We must halt construction in our fire-sensitive neighborhoods and keep evacuation routes safe, if we want to prevent fires locally while our resources are already strained.''

The motion would temporarily prohibit the issuance of demolition, building, grading, hauling and any other applicable permits relating to construction until the end date.

The ordinance would apply to both the hillside and the zones where properties are located on streets with a single point of entrance and exit, on substandard streets, or where LAFD response time is seven minutes or more, Ryu said.

Ryu said California is at the beginning of what is already the worst fire season in its history, with 3.3 million acres burned and 24 fatalities so far. Hillside construction, which almost exclusively is reserved for multi-million-dollar homes, can pose a grave risk in fire season.

Ryu's Council District Four, which includes the hillsides from Griffith Park to Bel Air-Beverly Crest, has seen four hillside fires start in the last two weeks alone, including one burning in Beverly Crest at the time the motion was introduced.

The Bobcat Fire, burning about a dozen miles northeast of the city, grew to more than 41,000 acres Tuesday with only 3% containment. Hundreds of homes are under mandatory evacuation orders in the north San Gabriel Valley, with thousands more under evacuation notice as smoke blankets the Los Angeles basin.

It was not immediately clear which council committee would first hear Ryu's motion.

Photo: Getty Images

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