The fire destroyed 1,643 structures, killed three people, and prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people
The Woolsey Fire
Thursday November 8, 2018 was a busy day in California. Just before midnight the night before there was a mass shooting incident leaving 12 dead at a bar in Thousand Oaks, just west of where the fire was hours later. The Camp Fire started early Thursday morning wiping out much of Paradise in northern California before noon. Then the Hill Fire started at about 1 p.m. south of Thousand Oaks about 13 miles southwest of where the Woolsey Fire started an hour later. The Hill Fire eventually burned over 4,500 acres and required the evacuation of 17,000 residents. While firefighters were still initially responding to the Hill Fire the Woolsey Fire ignited at about 2 p.m. Strike teams of engines and crews were already in route to northern California, so right away there was competition for firefighting resources with three major fires burning simultaneously in the state.
The Woolsey Fire started in Ventura County but spread into Los Angeles County. Very large portions of the blaze were in both counties, testing the capabilities of LA City, LA County, and the Ventura County Fire Department. The report states that even though the three organizations “regularly plan for and practice their response to a large fire in the region, they could not have planned for a complete exhaustion of California’s limited firefighting resources brought on by a regional wildfire weather threat in conjunction with the Camp Fire, a mass casualty shooting in Ventura County, and the Ventura County Hill Fire, which began just before the Woolsey Fire started.”
With large numbers of firefighting resources committed to the three major fires, and with the dry, windy weather continuing, many agencies had to think hard about continuing to send more and more firefighters to the Hill and Woolsey Fires in case more incidents broke out. Approximately half the resource orders for the Woolsey Fire were UTF, Unable to Fill.