Firefighters in Riverside County hope Sacramento lawmakers and the governor can agree this year on laws to require builders to provide wider entry and exit roads, adequate water pressure, and other measures to protect crews and property owners in obvious fire hazard areas, two local fire captains said Thursday.
The need for these basic safety precautions is etched in the minds and hearts of thousands of residents and firefighters traumatized by the November 2008 firestorms — including the destructive Freeway Complex fire that started in Riverside County.
“We need escape routes, and we need water pressure,” Idyllwild Fire Protection District Capt. Mike Mulhall said in an interview. “You've got to realize we're concerned with firefighters' and residents' safety first and foremost.
“If the funds and legislation aren't there to make sure we can safely do our jobs and protect residents, we can't fight some of these fires,” Mulhall said.
“I don't know what the governor and Sacramento are saying,” Riverside County-Cal Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera said. “In the past a lot of bills have been initiated on where homes can be built and how they should be built, including building materials and wider roads.”