Malibu Fire, Day 2 (Oct 22)

Updates will be sketchy today; I'm at work and will be trying to get actual work done. Still evacuated; don't know when I'll be going back. Traffic in general in LA area a complete nightmare today, especially since Topanga is closed to traffic. Two+ hours to get to work today.

Update 10:10 AM: LA County Fire says 2400+ acres burned; still 0% containment.

Update 10:18 AM: Pepperdine updated their emergency pageat 9:45 AM:

All classes on the Malibu campus have been cancelled for today, Oct. 22. Only critical support personnel should report to campus via PCH south from Kanan Dume Rd. The Pepperdine graduate campuses outside of Malibu will be open and classes will be held. Only critical communication systems, such as email, Internet connectivity, and telephone services, will likely be available today.

Students, faculty, and staff members who were relocated to the Tyler Campus Center, Payson Library, and Firestone Fieldhouse were allowed to return to their dorms and on-campus residences around 2 p.m. yesterday. All have been requested not to leave campus.

All roads leading to Pepperdine University are closed.

For regularly updated information, please call the toll free emergency hotline at (888) 286-5659.

Update 10:20 AM: More news from HereInMalibu, with photos:

Deep in the canyons the fire still burns, though nothing like the infernos in Canyon Country or San Diego County. Here in Malibu we're in the watchful, woeful mode, just beginning to absorb the changes to our little town. Winds are high and so dry, your skin stretches tight and your lips crack. PCH is clamped shut, strict roadblocks at Puerco Canyon and Kanan Road. The Civic Center is a staging area for everyone who has a hand in keeping us safe.

Smoky day with parked fire trucks

Update 10:24 AM: From National Interagency Fire Center:

2,400 acres at 10 percent contained. This fire is two miles north of Milibu. Mandatory evacuations were implemented in Monte Nido, Malibu Colony, Malibu Road, Sweetwater Canyon, Puerco Canyon, Carbon Canyon, Carbon Mesa, Rambla Pacifica, Big Rock and Topanga Canyon tactical zone 8. Several roads in the area are closed.

Update 10:26 AM: Another bulletin with photo from HereInMalibu:

Our fire, about 2,500 acres, is now 10 percent contained. It burns east of Carbon Canyon, though with high winds, all parts of the city remain on alert. All schools here and in Topanga are closed.

Burned-out car

Update 10:34 AM: More news from HereInMalibu:

The major update at this time: tanker planes now fighting the fire, which burns with renewed vigor, in Carbon Canyon area.

"Renewed vigor" in Carbon Canyon area is bad for Topanga.

Update 11:26 AM: LA County Fire confirms 10% containment figure.

Update 11:36 AM: Fire Fact Sheet from Malibu City:

This information was provided by the Fire Department:

Time of Alarm: 4:55 a.m. Sunday, October 21, 2007

Acres burned: 2400 acres

Current condition: 10% contained

Expected containment time: Unknown

Firefighters assigned: 1446+

Structures burned: 5 single family dwellings, 1 church, 1 commercial trailer

Structures damaged: 9 single family dwellings, 5 commercial businesses

Evacuation status: 500 homes / approximately 1500 people

Only really new information on fact sheet is that almost 1500 firefighters are assigned to the Malibu Fire. I suspect that the evacuation count does not include people (like me!) who live outside Malibu.

Update 10:39 AM: Malibu City Evacuation Status page has more detail on where in Topanga mandatory evacuation stops and voluntary starts.

Per information from the Fire Department:

All Mandatory evacuations remain in effect. The Topanga and Sunset Mesa voluntary evacuations also remain in place. Be alert and be prepared and continue to monitor television and radio news.

Mandatory evacuations:ᅠ Malibu Knolls, Malibu Colony, SweetwaterᅠCanyon, Malibu Road, ᅠCarbon Canyon, Carbon Mesa, Puerco Canyon, Rambla Pacifico, Monte Nido, Big Rock and Topanga Canyon south of Saddle Peak and Tuna Canyon

Voluntary evacuations:ᅠ Corral Canyon, Sunset Mesa, Old Topanaga Canyon, Hillside Drive and areas south

Red Cross Evacuation Centers have been set up at Agoura High School and Palisades High School.ᅠ

Update 11:49 AM: From LA Times:

The fire was pushed by winds that strengthened early today and threatened to continue east to Las Flores Canyon, a rustic community evacuated at 3 a.m.
...

Carbon Canyon is narrow, traversed by a serpentine two-lane road. Multimillion-dollar homes are along the ridgelines.

"We're going to have this kind of activity every time the wind kicks up," said Edward Osorio, a Los Angeles County Fire Department inspector. "We still only have 10% containment here, which is not a heck of a lot."

Sheriff's deputies who had assembled in Malibu began heading out to Las Flores Canyon to warn residents of the danger.

"We'll be going door to door," said one deputy as he headed off in his cruiser.

More than 1,500 firefighters were battling the blaze in Malibu. On Sunday, helicopters had been especially valuable, dropping retardant. The aircraft were on the ground during the night, but some reconnaissance flights resumed this morning with full aerial attacks expected later.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Bob Goldman stood this morning on the driveway of Fire Station No. 70 at Carbon Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway. Flames headed his way.

"This fire really fooled me. Last night when I went to bed I thought, 'Ah, this fire is just going to punk around on the hillside, it's not particularly active.' But when I woke up this morning, I was shocked. I never thought it would reach my fire station."

Like many fire officials, he said he was worried that the fire was on the verge of moving into nearby Las Flores Canyon, just to the east. The canyon is a designated "trigger point," meaning that if it becomes engulfed in flames, plans call for ordering the evacuation of the 12,000 to 14,000 people who live in Topanga Canyon to the east.

I assume Las Flores Canyon is the trigger point for mandatory evacuation, because they've already called for voluntary evacuation of Topanga.

Other fires in the area are also wreaking havoc; they are diverting resources from Malibu to Orange County and San Diego. Appropriately, in my opinion -- apparently 250,000 people have been evacuated in San Diego county.

Update 12:03 PM: According to City of Malibu Evacuation Information, Piuma Road south of Saddle Peak has been added to Voluntary evacuation list.

Update 12:05 PM: New from HereInMalibu

Cruising around Malibu this morning, the little red pickup offering a bit of camouflage amid all the red rescue vehicles.

Ralphs open and oddly empty. Firefighters resting and listening to scanners, buying something to drink. Clerks worried and heaping blessings upon us.

Here's the clock tower next to Diedrich's. Below that, especially ominous to a mobile home dweller like me, the melted remains of a construction trailer.

Burned-down clock tower

Burned-down trailer

Update 12:10 PM: City Of Malibu has a not-particularly informative fire map. I can't see road names or exactly where stuff is. My Google Map also updated, but since I can't watch TV here, fire info not as recent. New info from Pepperdine's emergency site:

Pepperdine University officials continue to work closely with local, county, and state fire officials regarding the Malibu Canyon fire.

At the present time, students, faculty, and staff on the Malibu campus remain safe following a brief period of being sheltered in place yesterday. All have been requested not to leave campus. All roads leading to the Malibu campus are closed. Information about the latest road closures is available on the road condition hotline at (310) 506-ROAD.

All classes on the Malibu campus have been cancelled for today, Oct. 22. All Pepperdine campuses outside Malibu are open for classes.

A decision will be made later today whether Malibu campus classes will be held tomorrow, Oct 23. Another update will be posted at 4 p.m.

Update 12:34 PM: LA County Firehas their own Google Map up. RCMurphy is posting more photos around Malibu Center.

Burned-down clock tower

Update 12:40 PM: Wanted to highlight this comment -- see the original in the comments at the bottom of the page. This is about the City of Malibu fire map I mentioned earlier.

Did a quick photoshop superimposition of the Malibu map over a Google hybrid map, and it looks like you'd expect, based on the reports:
Malibu canyon to a little south of Piuma (northern extent); the pocket of untouched area near PCH is Cross Creek and near the Serra Retreat.

The eastern extent is past Sweetwater, nearing but about halfway between Sweetwater and Carbon Mesa.

As far as I can tell, assuming my overlay was lined up right.

Update 1:33 PM: News from HereInMalibu -- Wind shift is bad news.

Upper Las Flores Canyon now in flames.

We can see lines of helicopters, which tank up at Pepperdine, vanish into the smoke as they dump water on the fire.

Noon. We feel it, see it, begin to gather on the bluff.

Wind shifts, fire shifts, and the first tiny tongue of flame appears.

Couple viewing the smoke

Given what we've heard previously about fire in Las Flores triggering mandatory evacuations in Topanga, Topanga residents can probably expect to be told to leave shortly.

Update 1:42 PM: And there it is. I'm working from multiple, sometimes conflicting sources of information here -- and I'm safely ensconced in Santa Monica where I can't see anything firsthand -- but it looks like all of Topanga is being evacuated. The below list includes "Topanga" (unqualified for the first time) and "Southwest portion of Topanga Canyon Boulevard." This is timestamped 1:35 PM from the LA Times website:

The fires that swept through Malibu, Canyon Country and other parts of Southern California on Sunday forced several thousand residents to evacuate, triggered numerous road closures and prompted officials to cancel classes today at Pepperdine University and six schools in the Malibu area.

Canyon Fire in Malibu

Mandatory evacuations:

*Topanga Canyon

*Malibu Crest

*Serra Retreat

*Malibu Colony

*Malibu Knolls area

*Big Rock area

*Niedo

*Monte Nido area

*Rambla Pacifica

*Las Flores Canyon Road

*Carbon Canyon Road

*Tuna Canyon Road

*Malibu Road

*Sweetwater Canyon Road

*Carbon Mesa Road

*Puerco Canyon Road

*Powder Horn Ranch Road

*Monte Vista Drive

*Southwest portion of Topanga Canyon Boulevard

*Authorities also called for a voluntary evacuation of Corral Canyon Road and Sunset Mesa.

Those fleeing the fire were directed to two Red Cross shelters:

*Agoura High School, 28545 W. Driver Ave.; Agoura Hills

* Palisades Charter High School, 15777 Bowdoin St., Pacific Palisades

Road closures: Northbound Pacific Coast Highway at Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Southbound PCH at Kanan Dume Road. Southbound Las Virgenes Road at Mulholland Drive. Southbound Kanan Dume Road at Cornell. Las Virgenes Road at Piuma Road. Malibu Canyon Road between PCH and Piuma Road. Carbon Canyon Road at PCH. Big Rock Drive at PCH. Tuna Canyon Road at Saddle Peak Road. Topanga Canyon Boulevard at Mulholland Drive. Malibu Canyon Road at Mulholland Drive. Las Flores Canyon Road at Rambla Pacifica Road. Malibu Canyon Road at Civic Center Way. Only residents and emergency vehicles permitted on PCH between Kanan Dume Road and Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

School closures:

*Topanga Elementary School will be closed today, as will Calmont School in Topanga Canyon.

*Four schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will be closed:

*Malibu High School

*Cabrillo Elementary

*Webster Elementary

*Point Dume Elementary

For more information, residents can go to Malibu High School, 30215 Morning View Drive; call the Malibu city hotline at (310) 456-9982; visit www.ci.malibu.ca.us; or send an e-mail to malibucityhall@yahoo.com

Update 2:04 PM: Just spoke with my neighbor; he has not yet been told to mandatory evacuate. Called T-CEP: Eastern front of fire has crossed Piuma and is heading towards Schueren Road. Evacuation from Zones 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 is still voluntary. (T-CEP Zone Map) I'm in Zone 6. Fire is moving in NE direction. From T-CEP Status Page:

Los Angeles County Fire: AS OF 1:14PM MONDAY OCT 22
UPDATE:
Mandatory evacuation:
Piuma (entire road)
Schueren (entire road)
Voluntary evacuation for Zone 2,5,6,7,9 and Sunset Mesa.

Update 3:21 PM: City of Malibu Evacuation Info: Topanga south of Stunt Road is now mandatory evacuation. Old Topanga Canyon is now voluntary evac.

Per information from the Fire Department:

Mandatory evacuations:ᅠ Malibu Knolls, Malibu Colony, SweetwaterᅠCanyon, Malibu Road, ᅠCarbon Canyon, Carbon Mesa, Puerco Canyon, Rambla Pacifico, Monte Nido, Big Rock and Topanga Canyon south of Saddle Peak and Tuna Canyon, Schueren Road, Piuma Road. The evacuation route from Piuma and Schueren is Stunt Road to Mulholland to Topanga north.

Voluntary evacuations:ᅠ Corral Canyon, Sunset Mesa, Old Topanaga Canyon, Hillside Drive and areas south.

Red Cross Evacuation Centers have been set up at Agoura High School and Palisades High School.ᅠ An evacuation center is also set up at Malibu High School.

Update 3:34 PM: Here's HereInMalibu's 3:12 PM update:

Up at the barn now, where the temp is in the 90s, but still, utterly still. Planes and helicopters dip in and out of the canyons, where a trace of smoke hangs in the sky.

Kanan Road is open, and people with local ID allowed in and out.

No gas stations open in Malibu, so conserve what you've got.

Update 3:46 PM: LA County Fire just upped fire size to 2700+ acres.

Update 4:20 PM: HereInMalibu says things are getting hotter -- title of this photo is "wind shifts, flames appear."

Fire

Update 4:44 PM: More news from Pepperdine:

Malibu Canyon Fire Update

Pepperdine officials have announced that it will not hold classes on the Malibu campus on Tuesday, October 23. Events scheduled for Tuesday on the Malibu campus have also been cancelled as the University continues to work closely with local, county, and state fire officials in response to the Malibu Canyon fire. Only critical SUPPORT personnel should report for work.

All Pepperdine campuses outside Malibu remain open for classes.

All roads leading to the Malibu campus are closed at this time. Information about current road closures is available on the road condition hotline at (310) 506-ROAD (7623).

At the present time, students, faculty, and staff on the Malibu campus remain safe and it is recommended that they not leave campus.

Update 4:51 PM: Di Sanders has some scary shots of the fire. I think it's time for her to get away from wherever she's standing:Fire

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Update 5:04 PM: This is a NASA satellite photo of the fires. The first taken at 11:35 AM; the second at 2:50 PM. Red outline shows the size of the fires at each time. Smoke plumes speak for themselves. Click the photo to go to NASA's page on the fires.

Fire

Update 5:11 PM: Google map (not mine) showing all fires in Socal.

Update 5:21 PM: Some updates to road closures (info from T-CEP) on my Google Map.

Update 5:34 PM: News from CA OES:

Per OES staff at the Incident Command Post, the fire continues to burn and is currently at 2000 acres. There are 500 fire fighters assigned as the winds remain unpredictable.

News of note there is that there used to be almost 1500 firefighters; they're clearly drawing down the force to take care of the other wildfires in the area. Other new news is that the burn area is up to 2000 acres.

Update 6:04 PM: More from HereInMalibu:

After a welcome afternoon lull, a sunset bout of wind. Fitful and fretful, not as sustained and scary as earlier today.

Here's the view of Malibu's most active fire, where a plane and three helicopters are making a final assault.

Fire

Update 6:19 PM: City of Malibu reports 2400 acres as of 5:30 PM. Also, their Fire Fact Sheet reports additional structures damaged and destroyed:

This information was provided by the Fire Department:

Time of Alarm: 4:55 a.m. Sunday, October 21, 2007

Acres burned: 2400 acres

Current condition: 10% contained

Expected containment time: Unknown

Firefighters assigned: 1446+

Structures burned: 6 single family dwellings, 1 church, 1 commercial trailer, two outbuildings

Structures damaged: 13 single family dwellings, 6 commercial businesses, 3 outbuildings, 2 classrooms

Evacuation status: 500 homes / approximately 1500 people

Update 6:23 PM: Sigh. LA County Fire now reports 2700+ acres.

Update 6:27 PM: I'm leaving work. I'll be heading to my parents' home to pick up my car, and will then check conditions and evaluate whether or not I can head up Topanga to clear some more stuff out of my house. (I've got all the REALLY important stuff -- but there is some art on the walls, prints of my photos, etc. that I'd love to save. Still feel that my house won't be in the path of the fire, but I'm much less confident than I used to be.

Update 10:54 PM: Headed up to Topanga. Had to show ID and phone bill to CHP to get past checkpoint at Topanga and Mulholland. (My ID doesn't show my Topanga address.) Got a small load of stuff -- paintings, framed photos, a few pieces of sculpture, and a bunch of clothes. Now back at the 'rents and going to sleep. More updates tomorrow, again interspersed with work. (Hopefully with much more work.)

Update 8:44 AM Oct 23: Further updates will be posted here: http://schof.org/2007/10/23/malibu-fire-day-3-oct-23/