In this edition of WEF’s Words on Water Podcast, three leaders from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District share their experiences from the November 2018 Woolsey Fire. It decimated communities in Malibu and Ventura County, destroying 1,643 structures, killing three people and forcing 250,000 people to evacuate.
Staff at Las Virgenes did not evacuate and went into the fire zones, whenever it was safe to do so, to keep the pump stations and water storage tanks full and operating. “We had the emergency operations center up and running because we wanted the water system to maintain pressure,” said Michael McNutt, Las Virgenes’ Public Affairs Manager. “Water was delivered to firefighters so they could keep the community safe and do their jobs. We provide the water – that vital tool to help them combat the fires.”
This interview is with: David Pedersen, GM; Michael McNutt, Public Affairs and Communications Manager; and Brett Dingman, Water Reclamation Manager.
“There were a couple of times when the fire really, really hit home for our team members. Our employees were watching on TV as their communities were burning and not knowing if their homes had burned down or not. It really hit home how significant and devastating this fire was. There was an immense feeling that we had an obligation to do everything we possibly could do.” – David Pedersen, General Manager