Woolsey Fire Retrospective

With the retirement of Malibu Fire Safety Liaison Jerry Vandermeulen, experienced firefighter Chris Brossard takes up the mantle of spearheading wildfire preparedness in Malibu—a topic in which he is well-versed as he has fought fires in Malibu before, including the devastating 2018 Woolsey Fire, Malibu City Manager Reva Feldman revealed at the Monday, April 26, Malibu City Council meeting. 

“He’s very familiar with the challenges and the terrain and everything that we go through here,” Feldman said. 

“I spent 14 days on Woolsey, some of it directly in the city; most of it was up Yerba Buena,” Brossard said. 

Feldman said that Brossard joined Malibu from the U.S. Forest Service, with which he spent the majority of his time in Los Padres National Forest, inland from Ventura County. Brossard’s last assignment was as an engine captain in Piru, Calif., but he has also held various positions responding to fires and other natural disasters throughout the U.S. 

He will be replacing Vandermeulen, the first-ever person to hold the position of fire safety liaison in the city as it was created in Woolsey’s wake. Vandermeulen conducted hundreds of fire safety assessments of Malibu homes. 

Brossard told council that he shadowed Vandermeulen for two weeks and felt he had a “really good concept of what’s going on.” He said the city’s recent press release about upcoming Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 1 had caused a jump in home hardening assessments. Brossard said he was getting several assessments scheduled per day. He was “excited and happy” to be with the city. 

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