LA fire chief holds meeting in Sherman Oaks about homeless encampments in fire-prone zones

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Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas spoke Wednesday night to a room of concerned homeowners in Sherman Oaks about brush fires and homeless encampments in fire-prone areas. (KABC)

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas spoke Wednesday night to a room of concerned homeowners in Sherman Oaks about brush fires and homeless encampments in fire-prone areas.

The meeting came as a brush fire burned about a third of an acre near the Pacific Palisades highlands neighborhood, not far from the Temescal Ridge Trail and Skull Rock.

"We are taking a lead role in identifying those encampments, which are in a very high-fire zone," he said.

Terrazas said his department recently conducted a windshield survey, which helped brush inspectors identify problem spots. Firefighters are also working closely with the Los Angeles Police Department, parks and rec and the sanitation department to get a better handle on what got out of hand in the Skirball Fire.

In early December, someone in a homeless encampment sparked those flames after lighting a fire to cook in a nearby ravine. That encampment has been in the area for years and was nearly hidden about several hundred feet from Sepulveda Boulevard and the 405 Freeway.

"It all comes back to homelessness and how that problem is becoming a major issue. It's been a major issue," Terrazas said.

David Rankell lives in Sherman Oaks and liked what he heard from the chief, but he is not as complimentary when it comes to other city departments.

"Wherever you have homeless people hanging out, you're going to have problems like this and the city really needs to do something about it," he said. "I really think that we need to see more effort from our Los Angeles Police Department."

The fire near Pacific Palisades was fully contained within three hours, and the cause is under investigation.
Related Topics:
homelessbrush firecampfire safetylos angeles fire departmentSherman OaksLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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