The director of the California Department of Foresty and Fire Protection says ineffective and cosmetic air drops of water were made over San Diego County during the biggest wildfire in state history in response to public pressure from critics.
Director Andrea Tuttle made the remark during a hearing of the governor´s blue ribbon panel examining the response to the deadly fall wildfires in California.
The Cedar fire, which burned 273,000-acres in San Diego County, was the biggest and most destructive of the deadly blazes that swept across Southern California in October. It was responsible for 15 of the 23 deaths and more than half the 3,650 homes detroyed in six counties.
Tuttle said the agency was unprepared for the “incessant fingerpointing and second-guessing” by the media and public officials that was unique to San Diego.
During the fire, Republican politicians crticized state forestry officials for dragging their feet on seeking approval to use military planes to help fight the region´s deadly wildfires. A 1932 law that requires civilian resources to be exhausted first.