L.A. County asks homeowners to prepare for wildfires

In 1989, a fire in the Turnbull Canyon area destroyed 13 homes and caused at least $4.3 million in damage, a Los Angeles County fire official reminded area residents Monday.

“If you are a homeowner, you need to be prepared,” said Angel Montoya, deputy chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Montoya and other Los Angeles County fire officials, along with the county Commission on Insurance, gathered at the summit of Turnbull Canyon Road to remind residents to take precautions against wildfires by creating defensible spaces around homes and other structures, creating fire and evacuation plans and having adequate insurance.

The surrounding miles of hilly brush dotted with Puente Hills estates and almost 4,000 acres of open space illustrated the potential for wildfires in the area and the difficulty the terrain poses for fighting them.

“We’re here to remind people that fire season is upon us,” said Scott Svonkin, chairman of the insurance commission.

Svonkin said the wildfires that have been burning in Colorado and elsewhere this year should serve as a warning to L.A. County residents. Currently, the fire threat in the hillsides is moderate to high, according
to Montoya.

“The hillsides look green, but don’t let that deceive you,” he said.
They are full of dry vegetation, he said.

“When fuel moisture drops and it gets hotter and the winds come, that’s the formula for wildfires,” he said. “And that’s our concern.”

Read more in FIRE.

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