CAL OES Confirms Warning System Failed During October Wildfire

Remains sit at the Journey's End mobile home park on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Santa Rosa, Calif. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California, sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

California’s top emergency manager is confirming that warning systems failed during the North Coast’s deadly October wildfires. Mark Ghilarducci, director of the state Office of Emergency Services, yesterday was among several who testified at a legislative hearing investigating the failures of emergency warning systems during the fires. He said the failure of cellphone and other privately owned systems paralyzed emergency warning efforts during the fires that killed 44 and destroyed nearly nine-thousand homes and other structures. Ghilarducci said the state lacks authority to order those companies to strengthen their systems against disasters even though most alert systems operate on privately owned phone and other communications systems.