HOLLYWOOD HILLS — Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu introduced legislation to pause ongoing construction on hillside areas deemed prone to fires. The motion was introduced on Tuesday, September 15. 

Councilman Paul Koretz seconded the motion, which “calls for a halt in construction on narrow hillside roads in fire-sensitive areas until November 30, 2020.”

“This is a fire season like no other in our history, and Los Angeles is at unprecedented risk,” Ryu said in a statement. “We must halt construction in our fire-sensitive neighborhoods and keep evacuation routes safe if we want to prevent fires locally while our resources are already strained.” 

Ryu emphasized the risk of construction vehicles and haul routes in terms of egress in case an evacuation is needed. 

“Hillside construction, which almost exclusively is reserved for multi-million dollar homes, can pose a grave risk in fire season,” Ryu said. “One errant spark from a metal saw blade or other tool could ignite dry brush, while large trucks used for construction can block access to hillside neighborhoods, which often have only one narrow road to get in and out.”

The motion seeks an Interim Control Ordinance to “suspend all ongoing construction which is not necessary for provision of utilities or water supply, and prohibit the issuance of demolition, building, grading, hauling and any other applicable permits for properties located inclusively within both the Hillside and Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones,” the document says. 

Ryu’s Council District Four, which represents the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park areas, among other communities, has seen four hillside fires start in the last two weeks. A crew of 79 Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters extinguished a 1.8 brush fire in the Beverly Crest area on Tuesday, September 15. 

“A number of factors have created an unprecedented fire season this year, as prolonged drought and tree die-offs have been met with record-breaking temperatures to create a highly combustible situation,” Ryu’s office said in the statement. 

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently almost 2.3 million acres of wildfires in California as of September 16.