Governor visits Big Tujunga fire area

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (L) and Acting Secretary of Cal E.M.A. Matt Bettenhausen walk through rubble as they tour homes that were burned by the Station Fire September 2, 2009 at Vogel Flats near Tujunga, California. Fire officials said that the deadly 140,000 acre Station Fire was human caused. The fire, now 22 percent contained, has destroyed over 70 structures and has forced thousands of evacuations as several thousand homes are continue to be threatened. Two firefighters were also killed on Sunday trying to save an inmate fire-crew camp on Mount Gleason.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and fire officials visited a neighborhood near the Big Tujunga Fire Station in the Angeles National Forest. The Station Fire had burned most of the homes there to the ground.

As the governor and other officials spoke to reporters, homeowner Bert Voorhees wanted to know why water-dropping aircraft didn’t arrive sooner.

Bert Voorhees: "Basically, they let this fire burn unattended for 2.5 days, and I’m a huge fan of firefighters. Firefighters don’t make allocation of resource decisions. And two guys ended up dead, this whole place got burned out and we had this giant, one of the really big wildfires in California history.

"And so the question is why was it that it appeared that resources that were over heavy, were being allocated to like rich areas, and the decision here appears to be to have no resources allocated to it."

Voorhees, an attorney, lost an 800-square-foot home he’d planned to expand to 2,500 square feet. Fire officials said they made the best decisions they could given the available resources at the time. They agreed to explain those decisions in a future meeting with homeowners.

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