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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 27, 2008 | David Zahniser
The City Council voted Wednesday to place new restrictions on development in the hillside neighborhoods of El Sereno, Hermon, Lincoln Heights and Monterey Hills. Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents part of northeast Los Angeles, said the zoning changes would preserve the character of hillside neighborhoods while addressing fire safety. The measures establish new limits on building height, retaining wall height and the square footage of new hillside construction projects, as well as the amount of dirt that can be removed.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 29, 2008 | Bettina Boxall, Boxall is a Times staff writer
Forest fires in the Sierra Nevada have grown larger, more frequent and more damaging in the last two decades, according to a study that suggests much of the blame rests with the government's century-long war on wildfire. The study, published online this month in the journal Ecosystems, found that between 1984 and 2006, the proportion of burned areas where no trees survived increased, on average, to nearly 30%, from 17%. Climate is playing some role, the study said.
OPINION
October 22, 2008
Re "Fire rules don't cover power line," Oct. 17 Downed power lines are responsible for way too many fires, causing destruction of land and property and, ultimately, injury and death. With a little proactive maintenance, utilities and power-line operators can prevent most, if not all, risks posed by the power lines they operate. The assertion by Southern California Gas Co. and California Public Utilities Commission spokesperson Tom Hall that they are exempt from any fire hazard abatement rules simply does not hold up under close scrutiny.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 2, 2008 | Bettina Boxall, Times Staff Writer
Jon keeley is standing on a dirt road in western Riverside County, looking out across the Box Springs Mountains. Instead of a thick coat of native shrubs, the slopes are covered with a shriveled tangle of mustard, wild oats and red brome. Too much fire is the culprit. Since 1957, there have been 33 fires larger than 100 acres in the Box Springs -- more than the area's native coastal sage and chaparral could withstand.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 14, 2008 | Jia-Rui Chong
The ferocity of the Universal Studios blaze earlier this month stemmed mostly from the high flammability of the movie lot's sets and not from the flow of water to hoses and other firefighting equipment, according to a review by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the county Department of Public Works. "The problem was related to the fuel," county Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman said at a news conference Friday. The set facades were built almost entirely of wood and plastic, and therefore were 95% combustible, Freeman said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 2008 | Andrew Blankstein, Times Staff Writer
With highly flammable heavy timber and plastics, close quarters, constant construction and use of open flames and pyrotechnics, movie studios have long been considered especially vulnerable for the types of fires that swept across the Universal Studios lot. Back in 1952, when an eight-acre chunk of the Warner Bros. back lot erupted in flames, Burt Lancaster, Ray Bolger and other actors were pressed into service to help firefighters battle the blaze.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 10, 2008 | Michael Rothfeld, Times Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday urged California property owners to follow his example and prepare for fire season by bringing in experts to examine their homes, saying he had just learned that his own family was "living in the middle of" a fire hazard.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2008 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
Broken fire alarms at nearly a dozen buildings at Santa Ana College went unrepaired for more than two years because of miscommunication and a can't-someone-else-do-it mentality, and because officials did not declare an emergency to fix the antiquated system, an investigation by a law firm found. "Everybody thought it was someone else's responsibility," said Eddie Hernandez, chancellor of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 2, 2008 | Mike Anton, Times Staff Writer
Recent downpours have turned Orange County foothills charred by October's ferocious Santiago fire a vivid emerald green. From a distance, the explosion of life offers a powerful testament to nature's resilience. Up close, it also provides a worrisome omen for the months ahead.
REAL ESTATE
February 17, 2008 | Jonathan Diamond, Special to The Times
New state building code regulations aimed at protecting homes in wildfires are expected to result in a modest increase in construction costs. The new codes, which went into effect Jan. 1 in the 31 million acres of privately owned wild lands served by the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), will become effective July 1 in municipalities served by their own fire departments.
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