The Blue Ridge Fire began on October 26, 2020, and has grown to over 15,200 acres as of October 27, 2020 due to extreme weather conditions, Santa Ana Winds, and high levels of consumable brush and debris in Chino Hills State Park. The conditions are likely to be beyond the control of local resources and require the financial assistance and combined forces of other political subdivisions to combat. As of October 27, 2020, the Blue Ridge Fire has grown rapidly and is moving towards structures in the City. It has already forced evacuation of approximately 19,730 people and 5,958 homes within the City of Chino Hills, and if it continues its current path, it could cause extensive property damage and possible injury and loss of life. The City of Chino Hills has opened its City facilities including the Chino Hills Community Center and the McCoy Equestrian and Recreation Center as a shelter and to provide assistance for people and animals evacuated due to the Blue Ridge Fire.
The dangers presented by the Blue Ridge Fire caused the City Manager to proclaim the existence of a local emergency beginning on October 27, 2020, in accordance with the Chino Hills Municipal Code (CHMC). Further, the City Manager, acting as the City’s Director of Emergency Services, is recommending the City Council ratify and confirm a local emergency by adopting the attached resolution.
The proclamation of a local emergency is important for several reasons, including:
- It gives public employees, such as first responders, and governing bodies, such as the City Council, legal immunities for emergency actions taken.
- It allows the City to request state assistance under the California Disaster Assistance Act.
- It allows the City Manager or designee to take any measures necessary to protect and preserve public health and safety, and exercise all authority granted by the City’s code relating to emergency services (CHMC Chapter 2.44).
If the resolution is adopted and a local emergency is confirmed and ratified, the City Council must review the need for continuing the local emergency at its regularly scheduled meetings until the local emergency is terminated. The review must take place every 60 days after the resolution is adopted or the previous review. (CHMC Section 2.44.080.) The City Council must proclaim the termination of the local emergency at the earliest possible date that conditions warrant. (Gov. Code § 8630.)
Declaring a local emergency will provide flexibility to the City for rapidly responding to the Blue Ridge Fire. Doing so will help protect the City’s residents and visitors.