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Malibu Burns Once Again:

Although the Thanksgiving weekend Malibu fire was 100 percent contained by 6 p.m. Monday, November 26, the Los Angeles County Fire Department maintained holding crews in the area as of Tuesday evening, November 27, and positioned strategically placed strike teams in anticipation of Santa Ana wind conditions expected Tuesday night through Wednesday night.

The fire scorched 4,901 acres, destroyed 53 single-family dwellings and 35 other structures, damaged another 45 homes and other structures, and destroyed 37 vehicles and one mobile home. Eight persons were injured – all firefighters – with seven injuries considered minor and one moderate (first and second degree burns to the face), according to Inspector Frank Garrido of the county fire department. There were no civilian injuries. Evacuations affected 15,000 people.

Inspector Garrido said that it had been determined that the cause of the fire was human, but the question of whether it was accidental or intentional was still under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The Santa Monica Fire Department sent two engine companies, each with a crew of four firefighters, that hooked up with companies from Beverly Hills and Culver City to work as a task force in battling the flames for over 24 hours, reported SMFD Captain Scott Ziegert. As in the case of last month’s fires, otherwise off-duty Santa Monica firefighters were on overtime duty to staff the local stations in place of the personnel fighting the fires in Malibu.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) dispatched a DC-10 fitted with a “canoe tank” attached to its belly that made six drops of retardant on five flights for a total of almost 55,000 gallons, according to Mike Jarvis, CalFire’s Deputy Director of Communications. This gave the firefighters on the ground “a real strong perimeter,” Jarvis quoted county fire officials as saying. CalFire also contributed S2-T air tankers, helicopters, and an airborne traffic controller. Other agencies contributed air power as well, including the Canadian “super-scoopers” under contract to the county fire department that scooped water from the ocean to drop on the fire.

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