In Depth: Brushfire preparations

Segment One - Office of Emergency Services

Brian Ferguson, Deputy Director of Crisis Communications for the California OES talks to Hal about how the agency is responding to the threat of brushfires.  The OES has provided a fleet of small fire engines that can get into wildland areas and has deployed them throughout California, including in Los Angeles.

They are also investing heavily in new technology to rapidly track fires to catch them and knock them down before they get big.  They are also concentrating on communications and mutual aid to coordinate across the state and make sure personnel gets to where it is needed.

Segment Two - Orange County Fire Authority

Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy joins Hal to talk about the three new Chinook helicopters that will improve firefighting ability in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties.
Those choppers can carry about ten times as much water or retardant as a conventional water dropping helicopter.  They also allow for nighttime fire retardant drops for the first time, as the personnel , who are former military, use night vision goggles.

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Segment Three – L.A. City Fire

Captain Erik Scott of the L.A City Fire Department tells Hal that they are preparing for a bad fire season with special drills, allowing different fire departments to make sure they are all compatible with communications, equipment and tactics.

Scott also says dealing with fires caused by unhoused populations are an ongoing concern.  He says many different agencies are involved in remedying the problem.  The fires caused by unhoused individuals add up to about 54% of the fires in the city.  The fire department posts small fire engines in areas that have a lot of vagrancy issues so that they can knock down any fires quickly and also communicate with individuals to warn them about unsafe practices.

Segment Four – Wrap-up

Hal promotes his podcast, and we end with a new theory about using banana trees as green firebreaks in neighborhoods.