State saw it coming, city postponed discussion

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Photo by Holly Roberts
A volunteer cuddles with a puppy during the Thomas Fire at the Humane Society of Ventura County's Bryant Street shelter.
Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean says his agency acted quickly to allocate fire resources to the Ojai Valley, even before the Thomas Fire broke out.
On Dec. 3, the day before the wildfire erupted north of Santa Paula, Cal Fire sent 10 engines, comprising two strike teams, to the Ojai area.
The next afternoon, 10 more firetrucks rolled through downtown Ojai, headed east on Highway 150, several hours before the fire started the night of Dec. 4.
“Cal Fire was well aware of the predictions of extreme fire danger,” McLean said.
The Thomas Fire was fanned by strong Santa Ana winds and quickly spread to the city of Ventura and Upper Ojai.
More than 55 Cal Fire engines were ultimately involved in fighting the fire in the Ojai area.
“We pre-positioned a lot of resources which spread out into every nook and cranny,” McLean said.

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