Paramount Ranch Among Buildings Destroyed in Woolsey Fire
Posted Sunday, November 11, 2018 - 3:56 pm
By Victoria Talbot
The Woolsey Fire has now burned more than 83,275 acres, over 130 square miles of terrain stretching from Thousand Oaks, through Agoura, Bell Canyon, Calabasas, Kanan Dune, Point Dume and south to Pepperdine University (which has not burned). A break in the winds has enabled firefighters to achieve 10 percent containment by Sunday morning.
Over 75,000 homes have been forced to evacuate and an estimated 250,000 people. Many of the law enforcement and fire-fighting personnel have also been evacuated from their homes, but continue to fight the blaze.
Miles of tinder-dry brush that have not burned since 1978 have wrought havoc, combined with drought conditions and fierce Santa Ana wind conditions that revived Sunday. Estimates of 177 homes lost are preliminary, and with three days of wind ahead, with gusts over 40 mph, there is no telling what will happen.
“We’re truly concerned today,” said Los Angeles Fire Chief Daryl Osby in a news brief Sunday morning.
Authorities from every affected city and from every participating agency warn that the evacuations are still in effect and that the conditions can change in a heartbeat. If you are preparing for an evacuation visit http://www.fire.lacounty.gov/rsg/ for information on preparation.
Smoldering fires throughout the burn area can be revived by wind gusts to become full-fledged conflagrations in minutes. The lull Saturday, featuring an off-shore breeze at 3-5 mph, allowed firefighters the opportunity to put down some perimeters with fire retardant, air lifts and vegetation removal, but the fight is just beginning again. The high-wind condition is expected to last at least through Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday, seriously hampering efforts to contain the blaze.
Today, firefighters have been battling flare-ups in Malibu, Chatsworth, Bell Canyon and West Hills. As the sun sets, and winds pick up, conditions can change rapidly.
For those who are in the fire-evacuation area that have chosen to shelter in place, LACSD has asked that you evacuate. “Leave immediately,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Chief John Benedict told Topanga residents, who appear to be staying put.
Take important documents and identification with you; medications, phone numbers, and your pets and their medications, as well. Residents who have sheltered in place and leave to conduct personal business – will not be allowed to return to their homes in the burn area.
Hardest hit is Malibu, including Point Dume, Malibu West and Malibou Lake. Over 57,000 structures in Los Angeles and Ventura County are still at risk. Malibu City Councilman Skylar Peak said that more than 50 homes were lost in the Point Dume area and over half the city was without power from downed power lines.
A flare up in the Chatsworth area near Roscoe Boulevard and Valley Circle this morning is a reminder of how dangerous conditions are.
Also in Malibu, City Councilman, Mayor Pro-Tem and long-time stuntman Jefferson Wagner, AKA Zuma Jay, is hospitalized. He suffered injuries trying to save his home, which was destroyed in the fire.
Horses, llamas and other large animals have been evacuated to the Zuma Beach parking lot.
Among those structures lost in the fire was Paramount Ranch. The old western town formed the backdrop for many movies and provided a web of scenic hiking trails and equestrian paths in the Santa Monica Mountains. Calamigos Ranch has also been reported lost.
Note that a red flag warning is still in place. Red Flag parking restrictions are also in place. Vehicles parked illegally in the burn areas will be towed. Look for “No Parking” signs posted.
Mandatory evacuations include Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Malibu, Topanga Canyon, Westlake Village, Oak Park, Bell Canyon, Liberty Canyon west to Decker Canyon and Decker South to PCH, south of Highway 101, east of Reino Road, north of Portrero Road, east to the Los Angeles/Ventura County line, West Hills, west of Valley Circle Boulevard with a border to the north at Roscoe Boulevard and to the south at Vanowen Street. In Thousand Oaks, Thousand Oaks Boulevard north to Sunset Hills, from Oak Park west to Highway 23 and west of Highway 23, south of Olsen Road, north to Pederson Road.
Pacific Coast Highway remains closed from the Ventura County line to Sunset Boulevard. The 101 Freeway (Ventura Freeway) has been closed between Reyes Adobe and Valley Circle (though efforts to reopen it, with off ramps through the area remaining closed, are underway.)
Pepperdine University has lifted a shelter in place order and closed the school’s campuses in Malibu and Calabasas through Thanksgiving. All Malibu schools in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified District are closed until at least Thursday.
Over 250 LA Sheriffs Deputies and other mutual aid law enforcement agencies are patrolling the area for looters. Two were jailed Saturday. Over 8,000 personnel from Federal, State and Local agencies are participating, according to a press conference Sunday morning.
Crews and strike teams have arrived from cities and states as far away as Arizona. The Beverly Hills Fire Department has sent firefighters as part of a strike team, as well.
The bodies of two people were found in the Malibu area, badly burned in a vehicle. The deaths are being investigated. Three firefighters have been wounded, though details are withheld.
The fire has not burned Topanga Canyon, Pacific Palisades or the southern end of Malibu, which burned in 1993 at this time.