MALIBU—City Council decided collectively on August 23, to hold a town emergency meeting and implement a plan to decrease the chance of fires that may occur in homeless encampments located in restricted areas of the city.
City staff will work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Department will advise city staff on the homeless encampments and what should be done about them.
Mayor Paul Grisanti said, “Wildfire is Malibu’s number one safety threat and must address the very real threat to lives, and homes in the community posed by homeless encampments in this Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, which encompasses the entire City of Malibu,” he continued, “So far this year, we have had nearly 20 fires that started in homeless encampments in Malibu, and any one of them could have become disasters. Malibu is a compassionate community that has been dedicating significant resources toward services and outreach for people experiencing homelessness, but the situation has become far too dangerous for Malibu residents as well as the people living in homeless encampments who may become trapped during a fire. Public safety must come first.”
CAL FIRE has designated the City of Malibu as a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) based on its landscape, sloping terrain, steep hills, and the city’s history of fires. There are other factors such as moisture, the supply of live fuel, and severe drought that cause wildfires to be a danger to the city, people residing in Malibu, and the homeless community.
Malibu has endured various wildfires that have threatened lives, destroyed residential and commercial property, and required evacuations. The Woolsey fire in 2018 was the biggest in county records and scorched almost 100,000 acres, demolished 500 homes in Malibu, and killed three victims.
Most fires that occur in the Santa Monica Mountains are caused by humans, which include those who commit arson, those who light campfires, vehicle collisions, sparks from power lines, and weed whackers.
The Malibu City Council will consider an amendment to the City’s Anti-Camping Ordinance during the Special Virtual Meeting on Monday, September 13 at 4:30 p.m. To view the schedule and staff summary visit:
The amendment ordinance would be enforced by the Sheriff’s Department, within the constraints of the Martin vs. Boise court ruling, which is reportedly a barrier to enforcing Malibu’s new ordinance.
To learn more about the City’s efforts to address homelessness visit: www.MalibuCity.org/Homelessness.