MALIBU—The Woolsey Fire has burnt over 97,620 acres as it continues to destroy land, structures and homes from Simi Valley to Malibu. The fire is currently at 47 percent containment as of Wednesday, November 14.
The fire started on November 8 at 2:25 p.m. after a brush fire was ignited in the area of Rocketdyne, south of Simi Valley, as reported by the Ventura County Emergency Information. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. According to CAL FIRE, 57,000 structures have been threatened by the fire. An estimated 483 structures have been destroyed and 86 have been damaged. The Woolsey Fire has claimed three civilian lives and injured three firefighters.
The unified command agencies responding to the Woolsey Fire include CAL FIRE (San Luis Obispo Unit), the Ventura County Fire Department, Ventura County Sheriff Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, and the National Park Service. This brings relief in the form of 3,685 fire personnel, 544 fire engines, 62 fire crews, 22 helicopters, 16 bulldozers, and 46 water tenders.
The unified command agencies are receiving assistance from a number of alternative agencies, including Southern California Edison, Los Angeles and Ventura County Animal Controls, and the American Red Cross. The expected full containment date is November 18. “We are looking at the weather, how resources have been on the ground, and how past fires have been contained,” said Kailie Leggett, a public information officer working against the Woolsey Fire. “We have experienced meteorologists and skilled firefighters trying to predict the containment date.”
Residents with large animals can evacuate their animals to the Ventura County Animal Shelter, and Earl Warren Show Grounds. Smaller animals can be brought to Simi Valley Animal Shelter and Pierce College.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department issued mandatory evacuations for the entire city of Malibu and areas south of the 101, from the Ventura line to Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon, and southward towards the Pacific Ocean. All of Topanga Canyon and community as well as the entire community of Monte Nido and Malibu Lake have been ordered to evacuate. Portions of Calabasas are also facing mandatory evacuations.
No access will be available to neighborhoods south of the 1 highway. Highway 101 in both directions at Valley Circle to Reyes Adobe and the Pacific Coast Highway have been closed. Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Hwy 101 and PCH are closed. The Los Angeles County Public Works has closed Chesebro Road at the bridge between Driver Avenue and Balkins due to the bridge being damaged.
Among the celebrities whose homes have been destroyed in the blaze include Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Gerard Butler, Neil Young, Kim Basinger, Camille Grammar and Robin Thicke. In a tweet released on November 11, Cyrus wrote, “I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and the LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now.” Donation pages have been set up to help victims of the Woolsey Fire and a number of celebrities are encouraging their followers to help if possible.
Los Angeles’s historical landmarks have been impacted as well. Paramount Ranch, home to film and television sets since 1927 and more recently the HBO series “Westworld,”was destroyed in the raging fire. Reagan Ranch and Peter Strauss Ranch were also burned. Santa Susanna Lab, a former nuclear safe site was caught in the fire’s path. No health risk is reported to occur from the burning of the lab.
For residents evacuating, the American Red Cross has a number of shelters open. “We have 80 residents staying at our shelters right now,” said Marilyn Jimenez of the American Red Cross. “We are not at capacity currently but if the need to open more shelters arises, we are prepared to help hundreds more evacuees.”
Other evacuation centers are Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Taft Charter High School in Woodland Hills, and Pierce College in Woodland Hills. None of these evacuation centers have reached capacity.