Malibu Fire Day 3 (Oct 23)

I'm at my parent's house, completely safe. I'll be working from there today. Updates follow:

Update 8:46 AM: CBS's Fire Fact Sheet (Dated 9 PM Oct 22):

• 3,800 acres burned
• More than 200 homes evacuated
• 1,500 residents evacuated
• 10 homes and 6 businesses damaged
• 1,400 fire personnel deployed
• No injuries reported
• 10 percent containment

• PCH closed northbound and southbound between Topanga Canyon and Kanan-Dume Road
• Topanga Canyon closed north at PCH
• Kanan-Dume Rd. closed northbound and southbound between PCH and Mullholland
• Las Virgenes closed at Mulholland

• Residents in Puerco Canyon
• Residents along the beach on Malibu Road
• Residents in Malibu Colony
• Residents in Montenito
• Residents in Sweet Water Canyon
• Voluntary evacuations in Coral Canyon

• Zuma Beach Parking Lot
• Malibu High School -- 30215 Morning View Drive
• Pacific Palisades High School -- 15777 Bowdoin Street, Pacific Palisades
• Agoura High School -- 28545 Driver Avenue, Agoura Hills
• Time Warner Marriott in Woodland Hills is offering discounted rates to displaced residents. Call Tina Firestone at 818-884-6273.

• West Hills Pet Clinic -- 23333 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills. Call 818-222-7387
• Pierce College is taking large animals -- 6201 Winnetka Avenue, Woodland Hills.
• Agoura Shelter is taking small animals -- 29525 Agoura Road. Agoura Hills. Call 818-991-0071

• Classes canceled at Pepperdine's Malibu campus
• All Malibu public schools
• Topanga Elementary School in Malibu
• Viewpoint School in Calabasas
• Pinecrest Schools

• MTA Line 534, which runs along Pacific Coast Highway
• The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival at Juan Bautista de Anza Festival Park

News there seems to be the increased acreage count and the damaged structure count.

Update 9:01 AM: News from HereInMalibu

A different mood in town today, where the staging area at the Civic Center has grown and become more organized. Firefighters from many counties tend to their rigs and their gear. Breakfast is served, even as helicopters fly over, low and loud, on their way to Pepperdine's water source.

The roadblock between western Malibu and town is gone. The Shell station is open and selling gas. Businesses remain closed, though some storefronts have lights on as owners return.

Here's today's sunrise, from Bluffs Park. Huge plume of smoke from southern fires drifts across the skyline.


Update 9:12 AM: LA County Fire reports 10% containment on 3,800 acres.

Update 9:18 AM: T-CEP says Topanga Road Closure has been lifted for residents only; still closed for everyone else.

Posted 12:36 am 10-23
After many reports of Residents being denied access this evening, LACFD has verified a joint order by Fire and Sheriff's Dept. to not allow ANY residents into Topanga, via the valley or PCH. It is unknown when this order will be lifted. We will update as soon as we can gain clarification.

Please be aware that if residents leave they may not be allowed back into the canyon.

Updated 10-23 8:00 am: The restriction on Residents entering Topanga via all access roads has been lifted. Topanga Cyn. blvd is closed to all but Residents With Proper ID. The reason for this restriction was the Fire & Sherriffs concern that the Mandatory Evacuation areas may have been entered since patrol cars had not been adequately posted at the entry points.

Update 9:25 AM: Pepperdine Status

October 23rd, 2007 at 7:00 AM

Malibu Canyon Fire Update

Pepperdine officials have announced that classes will not be held on the Malibu campus today, October 23. Events scheduled for today 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.

Conditions remain unchanged since 7 p.m. last night.

Update 9:28 AM: LA Times Google Map of SoCal Fires. Their info, from Oct 22 7:30 PM

Acres burned: 3,800
Destroyed: 6 homes, 2 commercial and business buildings, church.
Damaged: 5 businesses, 9 homes damaged.
Containment: 8%
People evacuated: 1,500

Point of origin: Malibu Canyon Road at Piuma Road
Burned toward Pacific and Pepperdine University, then moved southeast.
Direction burning: Southeast
Threatened: 600 homes, 200 commercial, 100 outbuildings.
Firefighters dispatched: 1,500 firefighters
Injuries to residents: none
Injuries to firefighters: none
Time of start: 4:50 a.m., 10-21
Possible cause: Downed power lines

Update 9:32 AM: T-CEP says 15% contained; full containment expected by Friday Oct. 26. (Info as of 8:20 AM Oct 23.)

Latest update Oct 23 8:20 am:
Fire has currently burned 4400 acres, and even with increase of area since last night, the containment level is now increased from 8% to 15%. LACFD reported the perimteter of the fire is essentially the same (see below). LACFD also expects full containment by Friday Oct. 26.

Update 9:35 AM: LA County Fire reports acreage at 4400+ and containment at 15%. Good news, and matches T-CEP info from earlier. Even better news is T-CEP statement above that "perimeter of the fire is essentially the same."

Update 9:38 AM: Good news from HereInMalibu:

I just drove from Trancas to Cross Creek and back and the city's getting back to normal. Tancas Market is open, as is the Starbucks there. Lots of espresso, pastries and war stories. No newspapers, but people are being pretty good about sharing.Trancas Chevron, the Point Dume gas station, the 76 station near Corral, and the Chevron next to Malibu Urgent Care still closed. Shell at Cross Creek still seems to be the only game in town.

Ralphs and CVS both open. Parking lot filling up with people shopping, staring, and taking pix like the one below.

Lots of tents going up at the command center at the Civic Center, presumably so firefighters can get some sleep. Water drops continue on lingering hot spots, but scanner talk says things are close to being under control.

Some fire companies already heading south. Kern County's convoy got big cheers and loud honks from locals driving by.

Update 9:57 AM: Lots of photos from Flickr
Check out the following for some great/horrible photos from Flickr about the Malibu fire. I've requested permission to post most of these on; when I get permission I'll post them here.

Spaceman Spiffy
Spectacular ground-level shots of fire.
Shots of fire from an airplane.
Shots of fire and helicopters from along the beach
Shots from in and around Pepperdine
More helicopter shots.
Multiple shots of Malibu fire
Malibu fire shots from a photojournalist
Photo of Malibu fire from the air.
More Malibu fire photos.

Update 9:57 AM: City Of Malibu Evacuation Info as of 9:30 AM Oct 23

The Fire Department advises that there have been no changes in evacuation information. The following evacutation orders remain in place:Mandatory evacuations: Malibu Knolls, Malibu Colony, Sweetwater Canyon, Malibu Road, Carbon 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: 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.

Update 9:59 AM: City of Malibu Fire Map as of Oct 23 6 AM -- M, we need your Photoshop magic to interpret this!

Update 10:03 AM: News from The Malibu Times (Thanks to M for the tip -- see his comment below.) Things do seem to be looking up. This one is closer to under control. Still, if you're in a Mandatory Evac zone, GO.

Malibu fire update 8:30 a.m. TuesdayBy Jonathan Friedman, Meredith Rodriguez and Laura Tate / The Malibu Times

The Malibu fire has scorched up 4,400 acres. Flames continue to burn on the ridges of Las Flores Canyon, but are not moving down the canyon or the valley side. Fire Captain Kurt Schaefer, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said containment of the fire is now 15 percent. The Santa Ana winds were predicted to end today, but officials say they will continue through to Wednesday afternoon. Schaefer said they still expect to have the fire extinguished by Friday.

"We have a better feeling about this fire," Schaefer said, "but we'll have an even better feeling once the Santa Ana winds go away.

"The threat is still out there."

Fire personnel in the area have been reduced from 1,700 to 900.

Update 10:10 AM: News from HereInMalibu

* Check out the Malibu Times' amazing photo of a water drop.* Malibu Surfside News has this photo gallery.

* Some Fire Stats:

About 4,500 acres burned.
No injuries or fatalities.
Fire nearly 20 percent contained.
Officials peg Friday as probable date for fire, which still burns in the Las Flores are, to be completely out.
Winds, now intermittent, expected to end on Wednesday.

Update 10:12 AM: Pepperdine update from 10:00 AM

October 23rd, 2007 at 10:00 AMMalibu Canyon Fire Update

Pepperdine officials have announced that classes will not be held on the Malibu campus today, October 23. Events scheduled for today 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 10:13 AM: Additional NASA Satellite photo from yesterday afternoon.

NASA satellites continue to capture remarkable new images of the wildfires raging in Southern California. At least 14 massive fires are reported to have scorched about 425 square miles from north of Los Angeles to southeast of San Diego.These latest images, captured by NASA satellites on the afternoon of October 22, show the thick, billowing smoke coming off the numerous large fires and spreading over the Pacific Ocean. Fire activity is outlined in red.

Fires from space

Update 10:20 AM -- SUMMARY: Things appear to be looking up for the Malibu / Canyon fire. It hasn't moved much from where it was last night, and containment figures are up. A change in wind direction means all bets are off, and there could still be houses very close to the fire that are threatened -- but for everyone else, things are looking up. Fires elsewhere in the state aren't cooperating as much, and there's lots of bad news from those fires. The Western side of the Malibu / Canyon fire appears to be under control, and the Eastern side appears to be holding. If you are in a mandatory evacuation area, you should still GET OUT IMMEDIATELY. If you are in a voluntary evacuation area, use your own judgement based on this and other news sources, and what you can see and smell for yourself.

Update 11:06 AM: Very few updates, probably because the fire appears to be standing still. Good news from Brett in a comment on yesterday's updates:

I just went up to the top of the hill where I live, overlooking the ridge by Stunt and Las Flores area, looks much better than yesterday, no planes, no smoke visible, winds still strong in our favor.

Update 11:30 AM: The most-excellent M superimposed the very vague Malibu City Fire Map from 6 AM today on a map with roads and etc. that we can actually read. Click the map for image size options. Full-size version here. Thanks very much, M![A much better map](
This pretty much confirms what we already know. (And because the fire hasn't moved much, this is probably still accurate.) News to me was the small area of fire BETWEEN Las Flores and Topanga, by PCH. I haven't heard any mention of that from anyone. I'll be updating the Google Map shortly. M said in an instant message (and I agree): "Definitely heard nothing, but it could possibly match up with the reports that lower topanga had been under evac orders for a while."

Update 11:37 AM: Update from T-CEP stamped 11:09 AM:

Residents are now able to go in and out of the Canyon with proper ID. Restrictions will be upheld in Zone 8. There will be no traffic into Zone 8, which begins at Tuna Canyon and Saddle Peak. Both roads are closed and Sheriffs are posted.

Update 12:01 PM Updated the Google Map with the info that M provided from the Malibu City Fire Map.

Update 12:14 PM: Krystal pointed me to a list of fire maps -- many have been linked previously on this site, but others are new -- they cover all of SoCal, focusing on the San Diego fires, as they are the largest and most serious at the moment.

Update 12:26 PM: News from T-CEP

October 23 - 12:02 PMThe smoke that Topanga Residents are currently seeing and smelling is being blown into the Canyon from other out-of-the-area fires.

Update 1:06 PM: From T-CEP

On Tuesday, October 23, at 7:00 p.m., the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the City of Malibu will conduct a community meeting to provide information regarding the Canyon Fire incident. Officials will discuss the current status and projections for lifting evacuation orders and re-opening roads. City officials, Sheriff's Department representativea and Animal Control representatives will also be on hand to provide information and answer questions. This meeting will be held at Malibu High School, 30215 Morning View Drive.For those residents who are unable to attend the Tuesday meeting due to any remaining road closures, a second meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m. at the Agoura / Calabasas Community Center located at 27040 Malibu Hills Road in Calabasas.

I won't be there, but I'm thinking that T-CEP and other news sources will cover it. If you're going to be there, please send me notes from the meeting to

LA County Fire is reporting 22 structures damaged or destroyed in the Malibu / Canyon fire.

City of Malibu has updated road closure information:

While it is understandable that residents, business owners, and those who work in Malibu are anxious for roads to open, please note that roads must be kept clear for Fire and Sheriff's personnel and for the many utility employees who are working to restore telephone, electric, and cable service. Please comply with road closures and stay out of the area unless absolutely necessary.Road closures: The following are "hard" road closures - closed to everyone, including residents:

* Malibu Canyon from Civic Center to Piuma
* PCH between Webb Way and Las Flores
* Schueren Road from south Saddle Peak and Stunt
* Piuma at Schueren
* Saddle Peak east of Schueren
* Tuna Canyon between PCH and Saddle Peak

PCH is open from the eastern city limits to Las Flores and from the western city limits to Webb Way. However, you will not be able to get past those points, even if you are a resident.

This information was provided by the Fire Department as of October 23 at 12:30 p.m.

Please note that road closures are subject to change as conditions change. The information provided here is based on information provided to us by the Fire and Sheriff's Departments.

Update 1:17 PM: EXCITING NEWS City of Malibu has updated evacuation information.

Updated Evacuation Information (10/23/07 at 1:00 p.m.)The following evacuation orders remain in place:

Mandatory evacuations: Las Flores Canyon, Sweetwater Canyon, Carbon Canyon, Carbon Mesa, Rambla Pacifico, Topanga Tactical Zone 8, Top of Piuma and Schueren Road

Voluntary evacuations: None

I'll call T-CEP to see if I can confirm that the voluntary evacuation orders have been rescinded.

Update 1:20 PM E-mail from SREWolf that I'm publishing verbatim:

Hey, your blog and maps have been very useful. However, please double check the meaning of the pink area near big
rock on the Malibu 6am map before announcing bundles of new fire
flames on your maps, you have people panicking on Topanga Online.
The pink is a different color and the boundaries are demarcated
differently than the fire area, so it probably means something
different. I called T-Cep and they have nothing for that area on
their fire perimeter map for 8am this morning. I called LACFD in
Malibu just a few minutes ago and the fireman who answered didn't
know what the pink was, guessed that it was marking areas which are

Also you might want to add a new symbol for extinguished fire (as
opposed to active).

Please pass this on to M as well. Thanks again for all your great

I'll look into updating the Google Map to show extinguished areas. Fire appears to be out on Western front, but I have no idea what extent of fire is at Eastern side. I've heard reports that it's limited to Las Flores canyon, but I'm really not sure. If anyone has any confirmed information, please send it to me and I'll update the map with that info. E-mail is

Update 1:26 PM: Good news! I called T-CEP; they confirm that voluntary evacuation orders have been lifted. All mandatory evacuation orders continue unchanged.

Update 1:29 PM: List of County Road Closures [dead link]

Updated 1:36 PM: Updated Google Map. Fires in area along PCH between Las Flores and Topanga changed from fire symbols to question marks; they seem like they're not likely to be a fire. Removed voluntary evacuation symbols. Changed some fire symbols on Eastern side of map to green. (There is no black fire symbol.) Would love to change more red fires to green; please send info to (And if I've missed a notice in one of the items I've posted that should have changed a red to green, please let me know. There's a lot going on here; I may have missed some.)

Update 1:48 PM: M sent me an updated burn map with the questionable area between Las Flores and Topanga removed. (View in highest-detail.)

Updated burn map

Update 2:15 PM I have updated the Google Maps page to reflect the road closures on the LA County page. Things to note: It did not mention the residents-only closure at Topanga & Mulholland. Coupled with the lifting of the voluntary evacuation from the Northern Topanga Canyon area, that's probably correct. I took it out. Also, "Latigo Canyon Road @ Mile Marker 2.08" is closed; open to residents only. I have no idea where mile marker 2.08 is; placement of that road closure is approximate.

Update 2:38 PM: From T-CEP: "Change: Mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted for Powderhorn and Monte Vista roads." Google Map update shortly. Symbol for a lifted mandatory evacuation is a martini glass.
Update 5:02 PM: LA County Fire says "Direction of the fire: Holding Still." Good news again! NASA has updated satellite imagery. The City Of Calabasas says:

At least 4400 acres burned, 15% Contained
14 structures damaged, 8 destroyed
Current fire personnel on scene: 900The fire is currently limited to hot spots in the Piuma Road and Saddlepeak Road areas. The fire is NOT yet under control and high winds are expected this afternoon which could cause larger flare-ups to develop.

The City of Calabasas also had an update on Charter Communications cable/phone/internet status:

Charter Communications crews were in Malibu early on Tuesday to begin the restoration of fiber-optic lines destroyed on Sunday by the Malibu fires. Approximately 4,000 feet of fiber were burned near a critical crossing of Pacific Coast Highway, disrupting cable, Internet and telephone service for approximately 90 percent of Charter’s customers in the community.Charter crews are now installing wire strand to support the new cable. Services will return gradually; first telephone and Internet service followed closely by off-air broadcast signals and then digital cable channel. Charter expects that customers will have service restored between 6:30 and 8:30 pm this evening.

Charter advises that there may be “pockets” of customers who remain out of service due to fire damage not evident until the majority of service is restored. If customers continue to experience service-related interruptions after this time, they should call Charter Customer Service at 1-866-499-8080.

Update 5:17 PM: I've changed most of the active fires to inactive (green) on the Google Map. This is based on the information that the fire remains only in the Piuma Road and Saddle Peak Road areas. Please do NOT use this map for life-or-death decisions -- I'm doing the best I can with vague, non-specific, and sometimes contradictory information. For instance I suspect that the fire is concentrated around the Eastern side of Piuma, and I could mark the ones on the West side as green -- but I'm being conservative for now. As Brett pointed out in a comment below, it's far better to celebrate too late than too early.

Update 5:25 PM: T-CEP says that all of Topanga Canyon Blvd. is open!

Updated 10-23 5:18pm
Topanga Cyn, Blvd is open to all with no restrictions.However, at this time, restrictions will be upheld in Zone 8. There will be no traffic into Zone 8, which begins at Tuna Canyon and Saddle Peak. Both roads are closed and Sheriffs are posted.

Zone 8 is closed, but Topanga Canyon Blvd. does not run through Zone 8. Called T-CEP. They confirmed that they were just told that all of Topanga Canyon was open from Mulholland to PCH. They could not confirm the exact location of the currently burning areas, but said the Eastern flank was around Las Flores and Piuma. I'm leaving it burning on the Google Map for all of Piuma until I get more confirmation.

Update 6:27 PM: Holy crap! LA County Fire says, "Direction of the Fire: No active fires at this time." Is that fire-speak for "not burning?" I sure hope so!

Update 6:33 PM: City of Malibu says "6:15 p.m. 10/23/07 - Pacific Coast Highway is now open in both directions." Good news! But LA County still lists PCH as closed. Hmm.

Update 6:39 PMJust called T-CEP; they confirm LA County Fire's 15% containment figure but have heard nothing about "No active fires."

Update 7:07 PMCity of Malibu reports 75% containment. That's far higher than I've seen anyone else report. (All other sources say 15%.)

Update 7:18 PM: I'm standing down. Malibu fire appears to be no longer a threat to inhabited areas; it may be out altogether. Look here for updates (and e-mail me) if things get more active; otherwise the need for minute-by-minute updates appears to be past. Thanks VERY much to everyone who helped make this site useful. My thoughts go out to people in Malibu and Topanga who lost their homes, and people in other areas of Southern California who are still battling wildfires.