Cal Fire announces emergency mapping changes
Team 10 found during the May wildfires, the county emergency website was not updating with accurate fire maps.
A county report released after the fires said: "Fire perimeter data was not available from Cal Fire during the first several days of the firestorm."
"We realized there was a delay," said Capt. Kendal Bortisser, who is with Cal Fire. "We realized there were areas for improvement."
It was a concern, even for county supervisors.
"I was disappointed because I'm tuned into this and I'm not getting the information that I knew was out there," Supervisor Ron Roberts told Team 10 in June.
Bortisser said there is a new contract in place between the fire agency and county's Office of Emergency Services. The agreement prioritizes issues, like mapping.
When asked about how fast the maps will appear on the website, Bortisser said, "I can't give you a time from … but certainly it's going to be a high priority to get those developed and get them out."
He said it will be faster than what residents saw in May.
Bortisser admits finding a balance between accurate and fast information is a delicate one. Cal Fire has an internal mapping system, but that is not available to the public.
"The information is not vetted, it's not verified, it's not approved," Bortisser said. "We don't want that released to the public because we can cause unnecessary panic, we can cause unnecessary evacuations, and we can actually be doing greater harm."
He said improving communication with the public is a never-ending process as we prepare for what could be a few busy months ahead.
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