Wildfire is blazing toward Malibu coast
LOS ANGELES — A winddriven wildfire raged through Southern California communities Friday, burning homes and forcing thousands of people to flee as it relentlessly pushed toward Malibu and the Pacific Ocean.
Flames torched at least 150 homes, burning parts of tony Calabasas and mansions in Malibu and prompting orders for 250,000 people to flee as the fire marched across the Santa Monica Mountains toward the sea. The cause of the blazes was not known.
The fire was one of two that broke out Thursday in Ventura County even as the area was reeling from the deadly mass shooting at a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks. Coupled with the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County, firefighting resources are stretched thin statewide.
“The challenges are, number one, competing resources,” said Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richardson. “We all know this is the second fire that occurred in Ventura County, and it’s on the heels of what’s happened up in Northern California where they’ve had devastating loss in Butte County.”
Firefighters had hoped to stop the Woolsey Fire’s march south at the wide expanse of Highway 101, but it jumped the freeway as the region’s notorious Santa Ana winds spiked in the early morning hours Friday. The fire then climbed rapidly into the Santa Monica Mountains and raced toward the coast.
“The perimeter is now the Pacific Ocean,” Richardson said.
The entire city of Malibu — where the population of 13,000 includes Hollywood stars and entertainment moguls — was under a mandatory evacuation order and had lost power in places. Fleeing residents jammed Pacific Coast Highway in a procession that crept along as smoke billowed overhead and mansions on the hills went up in flames.
The Hill Fire, farther west in Ventura County, was also moving toward the ocean, but its pace was slowed as it moved into the footprint of a 2013 wildfire that devoured vegetation on the far end of the Santa Monica range.
Firefighters push a car from a garage as the Woolsey Fire burns a home near Malibu Creek State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains. Evacuations were ordered south of Highway 101.