Station Fire: A misjudged threat
A Los Angeles Times investigation found that the U.S. Forest Service misjudged the threat posed by the Station Fire at the end of the first day, rolled back its ground forces and did not follow through on its commander’s orders for a heavy air attack early the next morning. The 2009 fire became the largest in Los Angeles County history, blackening 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest and destroying more than 200 homes, commercial buildings and other structures. Two county firefighters were killed in the blaze.
The policy shift by the U.S. Forest Service follows scrutiny of tactics used in the 2009 Station fire.
Report says officials failed to use all available aircraft in battling the 2009 blaze, but does not attribute blame for lapses. Study also says the agency needs a policy on using craft at night.
At a meeting convened by Rep. Adam Schiff, the agency is criticized for moving too slowly to commission new night-flying aircraft. Residents also plead with officials to determine how and why the agency let the blaze become the biggest in L.A. County history.
One official recounts a lost ‘window of opportunity’ to control the blaze.
Agriculture Department’s review cites a letter before the blaze instructing fire managers to limit requests for crews, aircraft and equipment from state and local agencies.
Officials say shifting her to head the San Bernardino National Forest is unrelated to the Station fire. She has been criticized for how that blaze was handled.
The agency says the recordings show that it was aggressively responding to the fire. But the data show a formal order for aircraft wasn’t placed.
The investigative arm of Congress acts on a request by California lawmakers after questions are raised about the tactics and decisions used to fight the largest fire in L.A. County history.
California’s two U.S. senators and several local House members ask the Government Accountability Office for the inquiry into the Forest Service’s tactics and decisions.
The Obama administration also invites Congress to order a broad inquiry after it is learned that dispatch recordings from the early hours of the blaze were withheld from a Forest Service review team.
Aerial expert’s report on L.A. County’s biggest wildfire flies in the face of official review
As Capt. Perri Hall watched helplessly, a blaze that had appeared containable erupted into the devastating Station fire. A report by Hall, obtained by The Times, contradicts key assertions by the U.S. Forest Service about its response to last summer’s disaster.
Forest Service had said it did all it could, but records and state officials say otherwise.
The head of the federal agency also tells a U.S. Senate panel that water-dropping helicopters would have been used on the first night of the Station fire had they been available.
The hearing will focus on a decades-old U.S. Forest Service ban on night flights by firefighting aircraft. Some say the prohibition allowed last summer’s disastrous Station fire to rage out of control.
Many believe last year’s internal investigation ignored critical errors.
L.A. County Fire Department examines firefighter deaths at a remote spot in the Angeles National Forest.
Nighttime flights ended in the ‘70s, but the congressman says changes in aviation technology may make operations safer. The Forest Service has been faulted for its response to the Station blaze.
Details on the deaths of 2 firefighters in Station blaze raise questions on why the crew was allowed to stay in harm’s way.
U.S. Forest Service’s withholding of aircraft would be included.
The Forest Service said terrain barred an aerial attack on Day 2 of the Station blaze. But that’s not in the dispatch logs.
County supervisors want water-dropping helicopters flown at night and more use of local crews on fires.
U.S. Forest Service needs to change its approach, an L.A. County report on the Station fire says.
Station fire inquiry fails to address key questions about what happened on Day 2.
Day 2 dawned with a prime chance to swiftly attack the Station fire. It didn’t happen.
Three weeks ahead of the Station blaze, the Forest Service sought to limit the use of local firefighting resources.
The agency’s attack was scaled back the night before the blaze, the biggest in county history, took off.
The Forest Service did not estimate the risks correctly, residents say.
Officials downsized their fight too quickly, they now concede.