Woolsey Fire Evacuees Repopulate Malibu and Surrounding Cities

The Woolsey fire seen from Lindero Canyon Road in Westlake Village.
Photo by Christian Monterrosa

By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter

Since erupting in Ventura and Los Angeles counties on Nov. 8, the Woolsey fire has burned 96,949 acres and destroyed 1,500 structures, damaging over 300 others, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 

As the Post went to print on Tuesday, Nov. 20, the vegetation fire was 96 percent contained with 70 fire engines and nine fire crews working to extinguish the blaze. The death toll stands at three civilians. 

Following the repopulation of residents in Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village, Malibu reached full repopulation on Monday, Nov. 19, when the last section, Broad Beach to County Line, was allowed access.

Pacific Coast Highway, which was closed from Sunset Boulevard to Las Posas Road, began reopening section by section, starting Wednesday evening, Nov. 14. Residents were granted access to the area from the LA/Ventura County line on southbound PCH the following Tuesday morning.  

The PCH closure extended through Pacific Palisades.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

As utility crews worked to replace damaged electrical lines, returning Malibu residents experienced a planned power outage until 8 p.m. on Monday.

Schools in Malibu are being cleaned of debris and expected to reopen after Thanksgiving weekend for a commencement of their regular schedule. 

Now with a forecast of mid-week rain, Los Angeles and Ventura counties are preparing for the possibility of rock and mudslides to occur on canyon roads, as well as the increased risk of flooding.

Pacific Palisades remained untouched by the Woolsey fire, though concerned Palisadians and nonprofit organizations visited the evacuation center at Palisades Charter High School to re-stock supplies and provide support. 

The exact cause of the Woolsey fire is still under investigation and full containment—previously anticipated by Nov. 17—is expected by Thursday, Nov. 22. 

Elsewhere in Southern California, the Hill fire in Newbury Park reached full containment by Nov. 16 and destroyed only four structures. 

In Northern California, the Camp fire in Butte County has incurred a death toll of 77, with hundreds of people still unaccounted for. Displaced residents from the town of Paradise are living in temporary shelters and tents, while the fire has not yet reached full containment and the threat of additional fires looms large.