Suppression restoration efforts underway
By Sam Catanzaro
The Los Angeles Fire Department has demobilized its Palisades Fire command post at Will Rogers State Beach as firefighters transition to patrol status and carry out environmental suppression repair efforts.
On Friday the LAFD released its final incident update for the Palisades Fire, reporting containment at 84 percent and acreage at 1,202 for the blaze. The Incident Management Team based at Will Rogers State Beach demobilized Friday night as well.
According to the LAFD, firefighters are now on Patrol Status to assure there are no flare-ups, and that the fire remains within the current burn footprint. In addition, environmental suppression repair efforts are well underway. See above and below videos to hear the LAFD describe these efforts.
According to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the fire was reported May 14 at 10:02 p.m. at 1807 N Michael Lane in Pacific Palisades in the area near the Trailer Canyon.
“When the first responding engines from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) arrived, crews encountered multiple, separate, slow-moving fires in steep and remote terrain with thick understory dry and dead vegetation,” the LAFD said. “Immediately, the Department launched an all-out attack – deploying dozens of engines, aircraft, bulldozers, water tenders, and more than 100 firefighters.”
Just after midnight Friday, arson investigators were dispatched to the scene to determine the cause of the fire.
Due to the inaccessible terrain and darkness, investigators gathered preliminary information and returned the next day.
On Saturday morning, LAFD helicopter pilots observed an adult male moving around in the brush along a steep hillside near the fire,” the Department said. “Officers from the West Los Angeles Community Police Station kept watch on the ground while the Air Support Division provided eyes in the sky. During an aerial observation, the Tactical Flight Officer witnessed the individual ignite multiple additional fires.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputies were lowered into the brush to begin a search for the man, but because the fires were growing rapidly, deputies were forced to retreat.
A little before 10 a.m. on Sunday the man emerged from the brush in the 1200 block of Palisades Drive and was recognized as a possible suspect by a private security officer. Police officers arrived and detained the suspect, Ramon Flores Rodriguez.
“After interviews from eyewitnesses, firefighters, and police officers, as well as hours of analyzing burn patterns and documenting the fire scene, arson investigators determined that the fire was incendiary,” the LAFD said.
The LAFD describes Rodriguez as only a 48-year-old transient. According to the LAFD, the arrestee has multiple name variations in law enforcement databases.:He faces one felony count each of arson of a structure or forest, and arson during a state of emergency.
He has pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $350,000 bail.