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Home > Natural Resources > Disaster Resources

Malibu Fire November 23-25, 2007

Malibu wildfire spread by 60mph Santa Ana winds

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Malibu canyons and wilderness map Urban and suburban areas in Southern California are not immune from Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires. The Malibu area is located at the end of valleys that act as wind tunnels when the Santa Ana's fierce power is driven toward the ocean. Communities that are situated in known wildfire areas live with the expectation of fires. But they are never fully prepared....they can't be. Natural events are complex and event locations are unpredictable within high risk areas.

The most destructive fire in Malibu in nearly 15 years has burned 2,200 acres and is continuing. Fire has destroyed 49 homes in Malibu.

"If you had the resources and could put a fire engine at every house, you're still going to lose homes in a 60-mph wind," a fire official said. The embers are rocketed in by the wind, driven into the eaves, the siding, the windows. Everything that could combust, did. Houses preheated by the approaching flames, ignited instantly and were ablaze within two minutes. The 100 foot brush clearances cleared by homeowners didn't do the job in the face of these extreme wind conditions.

The fire forced evacuations in neighborhoods west of Corral Canyon Road, south of Mulholland Highway, east of Trancas Canyon and north of Pacific Coast Highway.

Preparation for the Santa Ana Wildfire Emergency

An unprecedented mobilization was built days preceding the fire at the direction of the Governor, who reactivated the state of emergency he had declared in October in response to the wildfires in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego counies.

Knowing that Santa Ana winds and low humidity were in the forecast, fire officials started gathering more than 600 firefighters from around California and the Western United States in San Bernardino.

About 1,750 firefighters, 45 fire engines, numerous hand crews, 23 water-dropping helicopters and two fixed-wing planes battled the blaze.


Los Angeles Fire Department

Los Angeles Times

California Fire.CA.GOV Updates on fire events.

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