Board of Supervisors, City Council OK Independent Reviews of Woolsey Fire

Sheila Kuehl

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion on Tuesday, Dec. 18, to begin an assessment of the Woolsey Fire, including the response to the fire and the steps taken in its aftermath. 

The motion was first brought to the board by Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents Malibu. 

The assessment will cover the cause of the fire, how firefighting efforts were deployed, evacuation notification/procedures, communication throughout and following the fire, and repopulation. Specific details on how the assessment will be conducted have not yet been released.

In a statement shared by her office, Kuehl said, “In the last few days, I’ve met with a great many residents who were affected by the fire. It’s clear that a comprehensive review of the County’s response and recovery will be valuable to ensure we are increasingly better prepared for the heightened fire risk we now face.”

Last week, she held two community town hall forums to address questions and concerns of residents at King Gillette Ranch and Pepperdine University. Kuehl was notably absent from Malibu in the days and weeks of and following the fire.

As reported by The Malibu Times (“Twin town hall meetings describe damage, rebuilding process,” A1), she explained that early on in disaster situations “politicians don’t really have anything to do.”

During its Tuesday, Dec. 18 special meeting, Malibu City Council voted unanimously, 5-0, to create its own task force on the fire, with an ad hoc committee consisting of Council Members Skylar Peak and Rick Mullen. That committee will meet to design how the committee will take shape. 

At the next council meeting, which will take place on Jan. 14, 2019, Malibu representatives will be chosen for the county committee and city staff will have designed plans for how the city’s task force will work, complete with how to gather input from the public.

Emily Sawicki contributed to this report.