Laguna Beach California “Number One Priority is Fire Safety”.
Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen explained Laguna Beach City goals at the annual State of City address at The Montage Resort on May 3 2019.
“We are taking a thorough, top to bottom look at wildfire risk and fire safety in our City,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen.
“Our number one priority is to evaluate the level of fire risk, take the steps needed to reduce that risk and overcome any roadblocks in the way of implementing the necessary risk reduction programs.”
In December 2019, Mayor Whalen formed the Wildfire Mitigation and Fire Safety Subcommitte with Councilmember Sue Kempf to investigate and assess the City’s fire risk, vegetation management programs, the emergency alert system and evacuation routes.
The subcommittee’s draft report is expected to be completed by Summer of 2019.
“We hope to have a comprehensive evaluation of where we are and the opportunities going forward so we can make the right choices,” said City Manager John Pietig.
“Changes are going to have to be made to maintain the type of community we all want to live in but also maintain it in the safest manner possible.”
At Thursday’s State of the City Address, Mayor Whalen also gave a status update on Senate Bill 584. Senate Bill 584 is legislation he drafted with State Senator John Moorlach for wildfire mitigation. The legislation seeks to expedite the process for local jurisdictions, like Laguna Beach, located in Tier 3 fire-threat areas to underground current overhead electrical utilities through cost-sharing programs with the state and utility companies.
“Laguna Beach has restricted access- there are only three ways in and three ways out of the City,” Whalen said.
“With utilities lining Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road we are concerned for our community from a public safety standpoint.”