Two deaths believed related to the Woolsey Fire have been confirmed, with bodies found in the 33000 block of Mulholland Highway. Officials have been criticized for not evacuating the Malibu-adjacent Pepperdine University campus, choosing to shelter students in place.
Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties because of the Woolsey Fire and the nearby Hill Fire. President Donald Trump also approved an emergency declaration for the state. The north-south 101 Freeway, a major corridor in the state, remains closed in the area.
50 engine companies are battling the blaze, which officials described as existing in “extreme, tough” conditions.” Residents near the fires are asking the public to monitor official social media for updates on evacuation orders. Five cities have been evacuated, including Calabasas, Westlake Village, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills and Malibu. Officials have not put an official total on affected structures, but there are estimates reported of 150-250 structures burned in the fire.
Current weather predictions indicate the current lull in the dry, warm Santa Ana winds is temporary, and will pick up tomorrow, exacerbating the problems faced by firefighters.
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. “We’re making good progress on it, and we remain optimistic.”
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 Trump’s declaration in full below.
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.
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.
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.
— 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.
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 Sheriff’s 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.
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.
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.
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.