Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby and County Public Works Director Mark Pestrella announced during the Council meeting on Monday, March 25 that they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Malibu to ease requirements about water flow levels needed for firefighting that have posed an obstacle to some Malibu residents trying to rebuild homes destroyed in the Woolsey Fire.
“I made a promise at the first City Council meeting after the Woolsey Fire that we would do everything possible to help residents rebuild our community and get back on their feet, and that is exactly what we are doing,” said Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner. “This issue was highly distressing for our community members who have already been through so much, and I am pleased that the Fire Department and Public Works Department have heard our concerns and worked with us to find a way to provide some relief to these struggling people. This is progress.”
The City Manager, Public Safety Manager, Planning Director and Building Safety Director have been working closely with the Fire Department, Public Works Department and Waterworks District 29 to find solutions and compromises that would satisfy the Fire Department’s needs to ensure that firefighters have enough water to protect lives and homes and to enable Malibu residents to rebuild their homes after the Woolsey Fire. Because of the high level of concern among the community, the City Manager requested that Chief Osby and Pestrella come in person to the City Council meeting to discuss proposed solutions and answer questions.
Presently, the Fire Department requires fire flow for one- and two-family dwellings located in the high-fire-hazard zone in Malibu of 1,250 gallons per minute (GPM) for a two-hour duration at 20 PSI residual pressure for homes equipped with interior automatic fire sprinklers. Under the MOU, effective April 1, 2019, the Fire Department agreed to modify the required duration from two hours to one hour, while maintaining the 1,250 GPM at 20 PSI.
This modification will affect all new construction and fire rebuilds throughout Los Angeles County fire hazard zones.
At the request of the City, County Waterworks District No. 29, Malibu, reviewed its public water system serving homes damaged or destroyed by the Woolsey Fire and has determined that public fire hydrants can meet the fire flow requirements of 1,250 GPM for a one-hour duration in all areas of the City except for 17 homes burned in Encinal Canyon.
That means that fire flow requirements will be met for the rebuilding of all properties in the City of Malibu destroyed in the Woolsey Fire except homes in Encinal Canyon. Pestrella said that Encinal Canyon was being moved up to the highest priority in the District’s water infrastructure master plan that will address water pipe flow and water tank flow deficiencies, and estimated that the work would be complete in four years.
Fire Chief Osby pledged that, in the meantime, the Fire Department would work to find solutions to enable homeowners to rebuild as soon as possible, in coordination with Waterworks District 29 while it works on improving the water infrastructure.
Anyone who has further rebuilding questions pertaining to the Fire Department can meet in person with an L.A. County Fire Department official who is stationed at City Hall every Tuesday and Thursday between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM. No appointment is needed. Check in at the Fire Rebuild Desk in the upstairs lobby. City Hall is located at 23825 Stuart Ranch Rd., Malibu CA 90265.