Malibu, Topanga Canyon Under Mandatory Evacuation, St. Monica’s Opens Shelter

The Woolsey Fire burning in Malibu as seen from Santa Monica Friday evening. Photo: Sam Catanzaro.

Over 35,000 acres burned, zero percent contained. 

By Sam Catanzaro 

As the Woolsey Fire continues to rage, burning over 35,000 acres of land and continuing to grow, firefighters are hoping to make progress on Saturday before winds pick up again on Sunday.

“Tomorrow we expect a lull in the weather so we are going to try to get perimeter control to contain the fire to the extent that we can,” said Daryl L. Osby Fire Chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) at a press conference Friday evening. “We are expecting another wind event Sunday. So there is not going to be any relief in relation to this firefight.”

Currently, there are mandatory evacuations in place in the cities of Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Agoura and Malibu. The Topanga Canyon area in the City of Los Angeles is also under evacuation.

At the time of publishing, there has not been a life lost due to the Woolsey Fire. At least nine people have died in the Paradise Fire in Northern California.

“All of this cannot be done without the combined efforts of all the departments you see here. As we have seen, fires don’t recognize city boundaries and they move very quickly,” said Deputy Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Trevor Richmond.

There have not been any fire warnings in Santa Monica. Law enforcement personnel are directing traffic from the PCH and the I-10 West into the City.

“We have collaborated with CalTrans to where they have shut down the westbound 10 Freeway and they are pushing traffic into the City of Santa Monica and we have shut down off ramps on eastbound coming out of the McClure Tunnel,” said a California Highway Patrol lieutenant at the press conference.

The PCH is closed to all traffic northbound from Santa Monica. The 101 is shut down at Lindero Canyon to Valley Circle.

At the time of publishing, the fire is zero percent contained. According to LACFD Chief Osby, firefighters had trouble with gusty winds and low visibility.

“The winds were going 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 miles per hour,” Osby said. “Some of the challenges we have had today are with aircraft because of significant winds and low visibility. There were times throughout the day when we had to ground our fixed wing and rotary aircraft because of the dangers associated with the fire.”

St. Monica’s Church in Santa Monica has temporary respite shelter until 10:30 p.m. for evacuees.

“We can offer water, snacks and a place to re-group. Unfortunately, we are not prepared to provide overnight services at this time, but can assist in connecting people to services as needed,” St. Monica’s said.

For more information, visit https://stmonica.net/church-latest-announcements/17-main-church/698-woolsey?fbclid=IwAR0BXTQg8tGR6ycY9Acqdkrelp6uWjvuewqC7QZNVl3loq9mrH_tciLb8Cs

While the City of Santa Monica has not opened up a public shelter yet, to accommodate anyone from out of Santa Monica, all enforcement of “Preferential Parking Zones” will be suspended until further notice.

Follow the SMFD on Twitter @santamonicafd for the most up to date information. Sign up for emergency alerts in Santa Monica at https://www.smgov.net/Departments/OEM/Stay_Informed.aspx. For the latest information on road closures and fires, please monitor https://www.chp.ca.gov/home/california-wild-fire-resources.