The Real Deal Los Angeles

Woolsey fire forces evacuation of Malibu

More than 75K homes in surrounding area were ordered evacuated as strong winds fuel blaze
November 09, 2018 08:20AM

Fire damage from the Woolsey fire tweeted by the Los Angeles County Fire Department

UPDATED, Nov. 9, 9:55 a.m.: The rapidly moving Woolsey fire prompted authorities to issue evacuation orders for more than 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties early Friday, including for the entire beachside city of Malibu.

Evacuation orders for residents came in overnight as the fire moved into Agoura Hills, growing to 8,000 acres and destroying or damaging at least 20 homes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Evacuation orders were made for Westlake Village, parts of Calabasas and Cheeseboro Canyon. Images from the fires show hills and multiple homes ablaze in Oak Park.

Early Friday the Los Angeles Fire Department tweeted that the fire was headed to the ocean, declaring: “Imminent threat!”

That coincided with the evacuation order for Malibu, which has about 13,000 residents and lies along 21 miles of coast at the southern foot of the mountain range.

The fire is particularly dangerous because of high winds, which contributed to the fire’s rapid spread overnight. Winds haven’t been as strong in fires in the area in the recent past.

The gusts made for “ripe conditions for explosive fire behavior,” L.A. County Fire Captain Erik Scott told KNBC-TV Channel 4. “This is the new normal. When we have conditions like this, when it’s such incredible wind, that brings us in to a different caliber, so it’s become a much more challenging condition.”

The wildfire season last year was one of the most destructive and costly in history.

Around $2 billion in damage was done in Southern California alone. Statewide, the bill tallied around $12 billion from the multiple fires.

There is some concern that persistent wildfires could threaten property values in some of L.A.’s toniest neighborhoods, brokers have said that the market returned to normal in the months following the 2017 fires, and the ones this year. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch