Two months after wildfires raced through Northern California, burning thousands of homes to the ground and leaving more than 40 dead, the state’s legislature met for a hearing on the failures of a warning system for the fires.

The hearing took place Monday just hours before yet another wildfire broke out in Ventura county where it was still raging on Tuesday morning. The lack of an effective warning system ahead of the October fires became apparent when some residents in the state got emergency warnings on their phones and others didn’t as flames bore down on their homes. Stories of neighbors and officials knocking on doors or beeping car horns to wake residents weren’t uncommon during the fires.

California Wildfire Ben Pederson (R) looks for salvageable items in the remains of his family's home was destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Warnings used to go out to residents via their landline phones in their homes, but as more people moved to only having cell phones, the issue of how to send an emergency warning grew. Now, the warning system works on a voluntary basis, meaning residents have to sign themselves up and officials have a hard time publicizing the system and collecting numbers, the Sacramento Bee reported. These systems work in a decentralized manner, so they can vary from town to town, or county to county, and the timing of a warning is left up to the officials in that area to decide.

Additionally, private phone companies play a large role in how effective the warning systems are, and the state has no control over whether companies strengthen their networks for emergency situations. Even systems that users sign up for, like the voluntary text alert system that officials are working to make more popular, rely on working cell phone towers. When the fires swept through in the middle of the night, those towers were damaged and even some residents who had signed up for alerts, never got them.

Monday’s hearing was possibly the start of what could be a review and a revision of the emergency alert system the state has in place not just for wildfires, but other natural disasters like floods, and earthquakes as well. State Senator Mike McGuire told the Sacramento Bee that he hopes to see a statewide emergency system developed, something similar to the Amber Alert system.