MALIBU (CBSLA) – Santa Ana winds picked up again Monday as firefighters battling the deadly Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties worked to hold back the flames.
As of Monday evening, the blaze — which broke out Thursday afternoon — had burned 93,662 acres and was 30 percent contained, according to CAL Fire. The total number of structures threatened remained at about 57,000. An estimated 265,000 people had been forced to flee at the fire’s height. At last word, 149,000 people remained under evacuation orders.
Many parts of Malibu, Calabasas, Bell Canyon, Hidden Hills, Liberty Canyon and Topanga Canyon remained under mandatory evacuation Monday.
Re-population had begun for parts of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village — for areas just north of the 101 Freeway — along with Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oak Park, West Hills, North Ranch, Newbury Park and Wood Ranch.
The number of structures destroyed is estimated at 370 per CAL Fire, with hundreds more considered likely once the tally is finalized. Full containment was expected by Nov. 17. Two people have died and three firefighters have been injured battling the blaze. The nature of their injuries were not confirmed.
Real-Time Evacuation Map
More than 3,200 firefighters were assigned to the blaze and 22 helicopters worked from above, officials said. A number of air tankers were in use to suppress flames as conditions allowed.
The Woolsey Fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 in the area of Alfa Road and East Street, south of Simi Valley. On Nov. 9, it jumped the south side of the 101 Freeway at Chesebro Road near Calabasas and began spreading into Malibu.
Santa Ana winds Monday could be a bit stronger than Sunday and heavier gusts could follow Tuesday, National Weather Service Meteorologist Curt Kaplan said. Monday’s wind gusts could last longer into the afternoon as well.
A Red Flag Warning remained in effect for Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Tuesday, when winds will be strongest in the mornings and early afternoons, giving firefighters a nightly reprieve. That Red Flag Warning could be extended into Wednesday as winds could be stronger than earlier expected, he said.
The California Highway Patrol Sunday night reopened the northbound and southbound 101 Freeway from Valley Circle Boulevard with the offramps at Cheseboro Road, Kanan Road, Reyes Adobe Road and Lindero Canyon reopening. Pacific Coast Highway remained closed to all traffic from the Ventura/Los Angeles County line to Sunset Boulevard.
Topanga Canyon Boulevard was also closed from Mulholland Highway to the PCH.
Osby said there were flare-ups in several canyons as winds kicked up Sunday, but none outside the footprint of where the fire already had burned.
A town hall meeting about the fire was held Sunday at Taft Charter High School and attended by hundreds of concerned residents from the west San Fernando Valley down to Malibu.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Chief John Benedict said the badly burned bodies of two people were found inside a burned vehicle in a long driveway in the 33000 block of Mulholland Highway.
“It’s the feeling of homicide detectives that the driver became disoriented and the vehicle was overwhelmed by the fire,” Benedict said.
There are still about 3,500 students sheltered at Malibu’s Pepperdine University, Benedict said, bringing an angry reaction from a number of Malibu residents who asked if resources were being diverted from protecting houses in Malibu to protecting Pepperdine University.
Los Angeles County Fire Chief David Richardson tried to quell the anger by explaining the situation at Pepperdine.
“Pepperdine has a long-standing understanding with the county fire and sheriff’s departments,” Richardson said. “Pepperdine is a large facility that can support a large number of people. It was a viable option.”
He also told the crowd that a ballpark figure for their return to Malibu was three to five days.
He added that it will take time to replace the telephone poles destroyed by the fire, especially in canyon areas. He said they will need to use a helicopter to bring in the new poles.
“We can’t just drive poles in on a truck to those areas,” he said.
For residents waiting and watching to hear about their homes, law enforcement offered reassurances about patrol presence.
There were “zero incidents of looting or burglary in the affected areas,” Bixler said.
Peak said more than 50 homes have been lost in the Point Dume area, and more than half the city was without electricity Sunday.
The cause remains under investigation, Cal Fire said.
The Empire State Building in New York City lit up Monday night in the California state colors in honor of those impacted by the fires.
Pepperdine University announced Sunday that the school’s Malibu and Calabasas campuses would remain closed through Thanksgiving.
All Malibu schools in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District will remain closed until at least Thursday, the district announced.
Fire information for Los Angeles County can be found at lacounty.gov/woolseyfire.
Malibu also has established a website to update fire information at malibucity.org/woolsey.
Gov. Jerry Brown, responding to the Southern California fires and the Camp Fire in Northern California that has burned more than 100,000 acres and killed at least 42 people, announced Sunday he is requesting a “major disaster declaration” from President Donald Trump, in addition to an earlier emergency declaration signed by Trump that will provide federal funds to aid firefighters.
Donations to fire victims can be made through the Red Cross or the United Way. The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is seeking donations to pay for food, shelter and medical care for dogs, cats, horses and other displaced animals.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)