On a motion by County Mayor Michael D. Antonovich, the Board of Supervisors will send a five-signature letter to the United States Forest Service, the Secretary of Agriculture and California congressional leaders asking for a review and further investigation into the Forest Service’s intention to reduce aerial application of fire retardant during wildfires.
Antonovich’s motion included the serious concern raised by the Los Angeles County Fire Department that retardants and gels have significantly assisted the suppression of wild land incidents by slowing the spread of the fire and giving fire fighters the ability to keep the fire small.
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“Limiting aerial retardant drops could allow a fire to grow larger and out of control – as we saw during the Station Fire,” said Antonovich. “To protect life and property, we need to utilize all fire fighting weapons to control fires – not less.”
The United States Forest Service released a programmatic environmental impact statement suggesting that the continued nationwide aerial application of fire retardant on National Forest System lands may have negative environmental impacts. Wild land fires do not respect jurisdictional boundaries, management policies and guidelines adopted by the USFS directly impact local communities and fire agencies.
The letter by the Board will also be sent to Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Congressmen Kevin McCarthy, Buck McKeon, Adam Schiff and David Dreier.