The Orange County Fire Authority has released their after action review on the October, 2007 Santiago fire, southeast of Los Angeles. The document is 138 pages long and 7.3 Mb. The fire burned 28,517 acres and destroyed 42 structures, including 14 homes, 4 commercial buildings, and 24 out buildings.
On a quick review, I did not see any earth-shaking revelations. There were some challenges with communications (i.e. 800 Mh vs. VHF systems) but have you ever seen an AAR for a large incident that did not mention problems with communications?
Some of the recommendations:
- “…aggressively pursue adoption of Very High, High, and Moderate Fire Severity Zones” on the CalFire maps.
- Develop a Wildland-Urban Interface Program that includes enforcement provisions, and commit the necessary resources.
- Accelerate the purchase of new helicopters, and acquire night vision capability.
- Establish a full-time, year-round hand crew, a 2nd seasonal handcrew, and a seasonal fly crew.
- Increase staffing on Type 3 wildland engines to include a 4th firefighter.