MALIBU (CBSLA) – Containment on the devastating Woolsey Fire jumped up Friday, even as hundreds of frustrated Malibu residents were unclear about whether they could return to their communities.
The 98,362-acre Woolsey Fire was 78 percent contained as Friday evening, with full containment expected by Monday. The blaze has destroyed a staggering 616 structures and damaged another 183. Three people have died in the fires and another at least three firefighters injured. About 57,000 structures remain threatened. The cause remains under investigation.
Several residents told CBS2 Thursday night there was confusion as to whether there neighborhoods had reopened. Some said they had initially returned home after evacuation orders were lifted, and then left to go run errands, but came back to find hard road closures in place.
“It’s pretty frustrating considering they didn’t tell us there’s going to be a hard closure, and we’ve been going back and forth all day,” one man said. “And all of a sudden, they just, slam, I even left something on the stove.”
“Probably have to find one of the little hotels, but there’s no hotels available, so I’ll probably have to sleep in my vehicle,” another man said.
“We had no warning, I left my house totally exposed,” one woman said.
On Friday morning, one weary man sped through a barricade after talking to authorities, forcing deputies to send in a crew to turn the car around.
The L.A. County Office of Emergency Management explained in a news release Friday that serious infrastructural damage has prevented them from repopulating certain areas.
“With power and telephone poles burned, gas lines compromised and roadways destroyed, multiple agencies must work together to inspect the impacted areas and determine overall safety,” the emergency management office wrote.
CBS2 crews had to zig-zag around downed power lines that were strewn across Kanan Dune Road.
The emergency management office noted that several communities will have to be “completely rebuilt.”
“We’re dealing with power outages, gas leaks, water main issues, we’re dealing with downed power poles, with trees that have fallen,” L.A. County Sheriff’s Capt. Darren Harris told reporters.
To check if your neighborhood has been repopulated, click here.
REAL-TIME EVACUATION MAP
Portion of Calabasas and Malibu have been reopened to residents only.
Topanga Canyon, Monte Nido and Malibu Lake remain under mandatory evacuation. The area south of Carbon Canyon and north of Tuna Canyon also remains under evacuation. The area east of Las Posas Rd. and south of Potrero Rd. to the Pacific Coast Highway and the L.A.-Ventura county line remains under evacuation.
The PCH has been reopened to residents only. Topanga Canyon Boulevard was reopened Friday between the PCH and Mulholland Highway.
A boil water advisory was lifted for the following Malibu neighborhoods: north of the Point Dume area between Pacific Coast Highway and the northern Malibu city boundary, including Kanan Dume Road, Ramirez Canyon Road, Zumirez Drive and Cavalleri Road; the Encinal Canyon area up to the northern border of Malibu; and the area north of Malibu High School, including Harvester Road, Cuthbert Road, Philip Avenue, Seaview Drive and Horizon Drive.
A boil-water order remains in effect for customers served by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in the areas south of Westlake Village, east of the Ventura County line, north of the city of Malibu and west of Corral Canyon.
Firefighters hope to take advantage of weaker winds and increased humidity levels Friday to increase containment. However, offshore Santa Ana winds of the kind that plagued the region until late Wednesday afternoon are expected to return Sunday afternoon.
Fire officials warned people returning to their homes to beware of changing fire conditions and adhere to road closures and shifting evacuation zones.
Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with fire commanders in Camarillo Thursday morning to get an assessment of the damage and the continuing firefight.
President Donald Trump — who initially lashed out at California’s forest-management policies as a cause of the destructive blazes — will visit the state Saturday to “meet with individuals impacted by the wildfires,” according to White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters. His detailed schedule was not released, so it was unclear if his trip will include a stop in Southern California.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)