MALIBU—The Malibu City Council approved declaring a local state of emergency on September 27, initiating a program for decreasing the risk of wildfires associated with unpermitted and unregulated camping in city limits.

“Wildfire is Malibu’s number one public safety threat, and homeless encampments in the brush-covered canyons and hillsides of Malibu are a recipe for disaster,” said Mayor Paul Grisanti. “The City must address the very real threat to lives and homes posed by homeless encampments during peak wildfire season, while continuing our approach to finding shelter options and homeless services for those who are moved out of encampments.”

The city of Malibu reported in a news release that a resolution enables the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), LASD-Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) and Malibu to quickly remove homeless encampments on public property that are identified as fire threats during wildfire season. As part of wildfire safety efforts, LASD and the city of Malibu are prioritizing removing homeless encampments and unhoused people from the brush-covered hills and canyons of Malibu and placing them into emergency shelters.

The goal is to help people removed to be connected to a network of healthcare, mental healthcare and housing services.

In 2021, Malibu adopted a similar resolution, based on the low Live Fuel Moisture content, which indicates the potential for dangerous wildfires, and to the more than 20 brush fires attributed to homeless encampments in the canyons of that year.

The resolution directs city staff to work with the Malibu Homeless Outreach Team, LASD and HOST to identify homeless encampments, to conduct outreach to people living in encampments about the dangers of living unhoused in wildfire zones and about the camping prohibition; to offer available housing, shelter and services; and to ensure that Malibu remains free of homeless encampments while not criminalizing people experiencing homelessness.

City Staff was directed to collaborate with LASD Arson Watch during Red Flag fire conditions to watch for signs of smoke and fire and alert the Fire and Sheriff’s Departments.

The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority’s (LAHSA) annual homeless count in February showed 81 people experiencing homelessness in Malibu, a decline of 66 percent from 239 in 2020 and 157 in 2021. In Los Angeles County, 69,144 people were found to be experiencing homelessness, a 4.1 percent increase from 2020.

The city of Malibu reported on its Facebook page that the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a small brush fire at PCH and Malibu Canyon Road at approximately 5:15 p.m. on Monday, October 3. The fire was extinguished.

Anyone who spots encampments in Malibu is asked to contact the Public Safety Team at or call 310-456-2489, ext. 236. For more information about the City’s efforts to address homelessness in Malibu, visit