Woolsey Fire Rips Through Neighboring Cities

As the Post Went to Print, The Fire Was More Than 96,000 Acres With 35 Percent Containment

By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, a vegetation fire broke out on Woolsey Canyon Road in Southern California’s Ventura County.

It rapidly spread, threatening thousands of structures, downing power lines and prompting numerous road closures as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze.

Over the course of the weekend, residents in Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, West Hills and Bell Canyon were required to undergo mandatory evacuation orders.

The Woolsey fire required 450 fire engines and over 3,000 fire fighters to be deployed. Helicopters and air tankers supplied water from above.

By Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Woolsey fire had burned more than 96,000 acres with 35 percent containment. Over 57,000 structures have been threatened so far and “at least 370” engulfed in flames.

As Malibu residents fled from their homes, all lanes of Pacific Coast Highway were redirected southbound. As the Post went to print on Tuesday, portions of PCH had reopened for resident access only, with a closure still in place from Carbon Mesa Road to Las Posas Road.

Two people were found dead inside a fire-ravaged vehicle on Mulholland Highway and three firefighters have sustained injuries on the job.

While several “flare-ups” were reported as Santa Ana winds increased, as of Tuesday evening, the Palisades remained safe from fire. Captain Robert Bates from Los Angeles Fire Department Station 69 indicated that if the winds changed direction, that could necessitate local activity and evacuation instructions.

Palisades Charter High School was set up as an official Red Cross evacuation center during the fire, with local nonprofit organization Ama-LA on the list of volunteers to help. Will Rogers State Beach was used as an equine staging area for horses.

The National Weather Service included Pacific Palisades in its Red Flag notice for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, warning of “extremely critical fire weather conditions” and winds reaching 40 to 50 miles per hour. It was extended through Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Due to the deteriorating air quality, Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club has rescheduled its Nov. 11 Home Tour to take place on Sunday, Jan. 20. The Holiday Boutique will be Saturday, Dec. 1, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Department indicated on Monday that repopulation began for Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, as well as smaller neighboring communities. Portions of Eastern Malibu were allowed to return home Tuesday afternoon.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection anticipates full containment of the Woolsey Fire by Saturday, Nov. 17.

Additional fires raged in California, including the Hill fire in the Newbury Park area and the Camp fire, which has burned over 100,000 acres and obliterated the entire town of Paradise in Butte County.