More than 15 firefighters from the West San Gabriel Valley have been deployed to continue fighting a deadly wind-driven fire that ripped through portions of Ventura and Los Angeles counties on its way to Malibu.
According to Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian, 11 Pasadena firefighters, two fire engines, a water tender and a battalion chief command vehicle have been deployed to help with structure protection from the Woolsey fire, which started in Woolsey Canyon, located between Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, jumped the Ventura (101) Freeway and headed south toward celebrity-rich Calabasas, and then Malibu, both areas possessing some of the most expensive homes in the country.
Fire first erupted the afternoon of Nov. 8, roughly 15 hours after a gunman opened fire inside the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, killing 12 people, including one Ventura County sheriff’s deputy.
Along with Pasadena, four firefighters from South Pasadena were sent to help fight the blaze. A strike team leader and a paramedic from Glendale were sent to help out, and the Arcadia Fire Department sent an unspecified number of firefighters to assist in battling the fire.
Two people who were trapped in their car died while trying to escape the fire, which, according to CalFire.org, has destroyed 475 structures across 93,662 acres, or 146 square miles, forcing the evacuation of more than 170,000 people. Officials said 50,000 more structures remained threatened as of Tuesday afternoon.
In the Camp fire, a separate blaze in Northern California which also started on Nov. 8, 214 people remained missing as of Tuesday. The fire destroyed the town of Paradise, a small retirement community. Officials there said that the remains of 42 people were found in burned-out structures and charred vehicles. Law enforcement officials told CNN they believe many of the missing people may be in shelters.
Gov. Jerry Brown, one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against climate change, called the high winds, dry brush and other conditions that helped create the conflagrations “The new abnormal.”
In a tweet Saturday, President Donald Trump placed blame for the wildfires on poor forest mismanagement.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” the president tweeted. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
The tweet prompted a reply from Pasadena Firefighter Scott Austin, leader of city’s firefighter’s association, who wrote, “Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in [Southern] Cal are urban interface fires and have nothing to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts and help the victims.”
Trump later commended the firefighters for their bravery and on Friday declared a state of emergency in California. The president ordered federal assistance to supplement local responses and cleared the way for billions of dollars in federal assistance in the wake of the destruction.