$30 million dollar costs associated with failure to stop Station Fire early.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich is going after the United States government for reimbursement of costs to remove nearly a million cubic yards of mud, rocks and lumber from debris basins near the Station Fire burn areas. The basins are meant to protect homes from debris flow, which increased dramatically as a result of the destruction wrought by the Station Fire last summer.
Several homes in the La Canada area have been extensively damaged by mudslides during an abnormally harsh rain season, which saw the debris basins overrun. The cleaning of those basins is $30 million, and Los Angeles County has been forced to pick up the tab.
However Antonovich believes that the Federal Government should accept financial responsibility for the project because they didn’t take actions to stop the Station Fire early on.
“The U.S. Forest Service’s failure to extinguish the Station Fire in its earliest stage resulted in a catastrophe that is still impacting our County residents and taxpayers,” Antonovich said. “It caused the build up of material in these vital debris basins that must be cleared to prevent flooding and protect life and property.”
In December, Antonovich called for a congressional hearing into the tactics employed by U.S. Forest fire officials, who assumed command of the Station Fire. The U.S. Forest Command decided against using aerial firefighting units on the second day of the fire, citing terrain challenges. Antonovich and Los Angeles County fire officials have since contended that the use of nighttime and first-light aerial strikes could have prevented the spread of the fire, which ended up growing into the largest fire in LA County history. Read more on Antonovich’s call for new regulations in federal firefighting efforts by clicking here.
This week’s weather forecast calls for more rain in Los Angeles County, which will prompt more mud and debris flow concerns in the burn areas.