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Malibu-Area Fire Explodes To 35,000 Acres; Mandatory Evacuations Still In Place & Many Homes Lost Amid State Of Emergency

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UPDATED, 7:30 PM: The 101 freeway, a major north/south corridor, is now closed in both directions near Agoura Hills. More than 20 million people in the state remain under so-called “red flag” warnings, which indicate a combination of dry brush and warm winds spell a particularly dangerous fire potential. An estimated 250,000 people have been evacuated in Southern California and about 150 homes are believed destroyed. So far, the Woolsey fire has 0 percent containment.

UPDATED, 4:59 PM: Authorities have begun to focus firefighting efforts on the Topanga Canyon area as the Woolsey fire has more than doubled in size to 35,000 acres in mere hours. Local news reports say more than a quarter-million people are under evacuation orders and that at least 150 homes have been destroyed.

The latest neighborhood to be threatened in West Hills, where new evacuations are under way. See an updated list of evacuation orders below.

There still is zero containment on that fire as night falls, but Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said at a news conference that the Hill Fire is “holding at about 6,000 acres. “Were making good progress on it, and we remain optimistic.”

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Thousand Oaks Mayor, whose city was crushed by the mass shooting at a local bar on Wednesday night, noted that no deaths or injuries have been reported in the fires. He noited that “75 percent of Thousand Oaks has been evacuated, adding, “That means some of the folks who were affected by the shooting have been asked to leave their homes.”

Authorities did not give updates on the number of structures lost as they focus on saving lives and property rather than doing damage assessment. Mandatory evacuations remain in place for Malibu, Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and many nearby neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in California, hours after Governor-elect Gavin Newsom did the same for Los Angeles and Ventura counties. He is active governor with Jerry Brown out of the state. Read Trumps declaration in full below.

EARLIER UPDATE, 2:15 PM: The National Weather Service just extended its red flag warning for the valley and coastal areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties into Tuesday afternoon. That would mean six consecutive days of warnings as winds tonight are expected to hit 50 MPH.

Meanwhile, authorities now say the Woolsey Fire that is threatening Malibu has exploded to more than 14,000 acres with zero containment. Multiple homes have burned in the cities of Westlake Village and Oak Park, with many others still at risk, and KCBS-TV notes that some homes are burning in Malibu.

The Woolsey Fire jumped the 101 Freeway near Liberty Canyon overnight, and the 101 remains closed in both directions from Reyes Adobe Road in Agoura to Valley Circle Boulevard near Hidden Hills. More than 75,000 homes already have been evacuated, including all of Malibu, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and the celebrity enclave of Hidden Hills.

CHP TRAFFIC UNITS IN PLACE. PCH is currently 4 lanes all traveling south bound

— LA County Sheriff's (@LASDHQ) November 9, 2018

Deadline reached out to the film offices in Malibu and Agoura Hills, and we were referred to public information officers at their respective city halls. An official at City Hall in Agoura we contacted confirmed that the city has been evacuated but did not know if any filming was going on there leading up to the fires.

RelatedIconic Paramount Ranch Western Town Destroyed In Wildfire Mandatory evacuations as of 6:30 PM:

  • Point Mugu Naval Base (Hill Fire)
  • Camarillo Springs – All areas (Hill Fire)
  • Vallecito Trailer Park – All areas (Hill Fire)
  • California State University Channel Islands – All areas (Hill Fire)
  • Dos Vientos – All areas outlined on map below (Hill Fire)
  • South Coast – All areas outlined on map below (Hill Fire)
  • Bell Canyon – Entire Community(Woolsey Fire)
  • Oak Park – Entire Community (Woolsey Fire)
  • Thousand Oaks – T.O. Blvd north to Sunset Hills, from Oak Park west to Highway 23 (Woolsey Fire)
  • West of Highway 23 – south of E. Olsen Road, north of Pederson Rd. (Woolsey Fire)
  • South of Bard Lake, east of Highway 23 (Woolsey Fire)
  • South of Highway 101, east of Reino Rd., north of Potrero Rd., east to the L.A./Ventura County line (Woolsey Fire)
  • Wood Ranch and Long Canyon – All areas outlined on map below (Woolsey Fire)

PREVIOUSLY, 9:42 AM: Just days after being elected Governor in his own right, Gavin Newsom has just declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles county and Ventura county due to the fires that are destroying properties and land and forcing evacuations from Malibu to Griffith Park.

More than 75,000 homes already have been evacuated.

As Jerry Brown is out of California right now, Newsom in his Acting Governor capacity made the proclamation “due to the effects of the Hill and Woolsey fires, which have destroyed homes, threatened critical infrastructure and caused the evacuation of residents.” Sad to say, with the increase in fires the past several years, this may become an all to frequent reality for Newsom once he is officially sworn in as governor.

Another Golden State powerhouse, Disney boss Bob Iger made his own proclamation online as a blaze threatened Griffith Park, where the fire is holding at 30 acres in heavy brush with steep and difficult terrain, according to the Los Angeles Fire department.

View from my office. Hope everyone is being very careful this morning. #abc7eyewitness pic.twitter.com/FxUv0IJnMx

— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) November 9, 2018

More than 127 LAFD firefighters are on the scene, but the fire has already led to the evacuation of some animals at the LA Zoo, which remains closed. However, the fire in that area appears to be under control.

We will update as events require. And listen to Bob, stay safe, those winds are blowing.

Peter DaSilva/Shutterstock

Earlier today, authorities held a news conference to give updates on the local fires. Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said the Hill Fire started at 2 PM Thursday and burned about 6,000 acres but now is moving into the footprint of the 2013 Spring Fire. That means resources can focus on the Woolsey Fire, which was at 10,000-plus acres as of 9:15 AM.

Lorenzen said “many hundreds” of personnel are on the fire line with many more “on order.”

Chief John Benedict of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department said at the presser today that mandatory evacuations remain in place thoughout the cities of Agoura, Westlake Village and the tony enclaves of Calabasas and Hidden Hills, where many celebrities live.

Benedict said the most recent evacuation area is the area south of the 101 Freeway between the Ventura County line and Las Virgenes Canyon Road all the way to the Malibu coast. Everyone who spoke at the presser praised the first responders and pleaded with residents to heed evacuation orders.

One local resident told KCBS-TV this morning that Edison has been warning people in his area for about a year that it would cut off power as a precaution if fires came close, fearful of downed power lines starting new fires. So power has been off in the area since the overnight hours.

RelatedSoCal Wildfires: Scott Derricksons House Destroyed; Guillermo Del Toros Bleak House Threatened; More Reactions

PREVIOUS UPDATED with news about Griffith Park fire: The Southern California beach city of Malibu and its surrounding areas are under mandatory evacuation orders this morning as one of two fires that started Thursday afternoon in the region spread massively overnight, fueled by Santa Ana winds and ultra-dry conditions.

Meanwhile, a new fire has broken out in Griffith Park near the Los Angeles Zoo. Since it was reported at 7:10 AM, crews have been working to contain it at 2-3 acres.

Malibu residents have been told to avoid the canyon routes out of the city, and Pacific Coast Highway is jammed as residents got the early morning order to leave one of the regions most tony cities. The northbound lanes of the citys lone north-south artery is closed at Topanga Canyon Boulevard, and all four lanes are being used to allow southbound traffic as people try to evacuate before the flames arrive.

The fire overnight jumped the 101 Freeway in the western end of Los Angeles County, forcing a shutdown of the major artery after drivers in some cases were forced to make U-turns and drive the opposite direction to avoid flames.

Overnight, the Woolsey Fire reached the city of Agoura Hills and raced through Oak Park, in the adjacent Ventura County. That county is also facing danger from a second fire, the Hill Fire, which sparked Thursday very near the location of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks where 12 were killed.

As the Woolsey fire approaches Malibu, all areas south of the 101 Freeway from Ventura County line to Las Virgenes/Malibu Cyn, southward to the ocean, were told to leave immediately after the fire jumped the 101 at Liberty Cyn Rd and Chesebro Rd in nearby Agoura Hills. The 101 is now closed in both directions from Las Virgenes to Reyes Adobe, an eerie site on one of SoCals most traveled freeways.

Mandatory evacuations were already ordered for north of the 101 from Valley Vista to Reyes Adobe in the areas of Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Westlake Village, according to emergency officials.

President Donald J. Trump Approves California Emergency Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of California and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from wildfires beginning on November 8, 2018, and continuing.

The Presidents action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.

Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named David G. Samaniego as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

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