County Report Reveals Scope and Complexity of Fires

Firestorm After Action Report describes successes and areas for improvement

Released February 25th, 2008

    Today, the County of San Diego is releasing an exhaustive 127 page account of the activities and resources employed during the largest disaster in the region’s history. The sheer magnitude of the fires, which consumed nearly 369,000 acres or about 13% of the county’s total land mass late last year, is evident in the detailed descriptions of the dedicated efforts of government, business and individual citizens during this major disaster.

    In addition to providing a sequence and analysis of events, the after-action report identifies key county successes and recommendations for improvement. Among the achievements described is the tremendous level of cooperation and coordination between over 300 responding agencies and organizations. This coordination was aided by excellent communication among emergency managers and first responders throughout the region as a result of significant upgrades to the regional radio communication system, and the widespread use of WebEOC, an online software program that helps organize disaster information.

    The County also successfully communicated warnings and notifications by using two automated mass notification systems: AlertSanDiego and Reverse 911. Combined, nearly 587,000 calls were placed to inform residents of evacuations and boil water orders.

    The after-action report describes 38 actionable recommendations for improvement that include: integrating more key information into the regional Geographical Information System; expand the pre-positioning of shelter supplies around the region, and streamline the process of getting volunteer doctors and nurses to regional shelters.

    The report also chronicles the tremendous contributions of thousands of individual volunteers and community organizations, whose actions and outpouring of support made a difference. “For San Diego, the 2007 firestorm was a defining moment—for five days in October, the nation’s attention was focused on San Diego, and what the nation saw was San Diego at its very best, in the worst of circumstances,” the report concludes. Editors Note: Full text of the report is available at the OES Wild Land Fire website

    The information contained in this report provides a roadmap for the region in preparing for future disasters. The County’s after-action report offers an analysis of county resources, events and activities; separate reports will be completed and released by the State and various cities and agencies.