McKeon, Dreier, Schiff Lead Bipartisan Request for Report on Station Fire
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), Congressman David Dreier (R-CA) and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) are leading several of their California colleagues today in requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) perform a full investigation of the Station Fire Incident from its inception on August 26, 2009 to its containment on October 16, 2009. The bipartisan request comes as news reports indicate that critical Forest Service dispatch recordings from the start of the fire, which claimed two lives and resulted in the destruction of numerous homes and structures, were withheld from federal teams that have already conducted reviews of the Station Fire Incident.
Joining Congressmen McKeon, Dreier and Schiff in requesting the independent investigation are Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA). The letter states in part:
“Both the Forest Service and Los Angeles County Fire Department have conducted reviews of the fire and the response from both of these agencies. However, we have learned today that critical Forest Service dispatch recordings from the start of the fire were withheld from federal review teams. This casts a dark cloud over the findings of the review panel and immediately warrants an independent review of the Station Fire response.
“Our purpose for this review is to ensure that all actions in the response to the fire were taken swiftly, properly and competently. Our constituents must know that every possible, reasonable and proper action was taken to fight the fire, and if there were instances where the proper actions were not taken, we must know why.”
“Most important, we must establish what lessons were learned from this devastating fire. By identifying mistakes made and where different choices would have caused better outcomes, agencies tasked with preventing and fighting fires will be able to better prepare and respond in the future.
“Thank you for your timely response to this important issue for our constituents. As fires again are breaking out in Southern California, this review is timely and more important than ever to ensure the devastation of the Station Fire never happens again.”