Monday, January 08, 2007

Malibu Burns (Again)***

***WRAPUP*** 10:39 01/09/07: Looks like they kept it to five homes and a guest house destroyed. Good work all around, though not good enough to save Suzanne Somers' home. So much for the Three's Company theme song: "Come and knock on my door..." Part of the reason these things don't often get too out of control in LA County is in part due to the fire agencies' ability to dump a ton of resources very quickly onto a major incident--especially if they're ready for it in a Red Flag sitch.

Also, a big hat tip to Kevin at L.A Observed for the inbound link today!

***UPDATE*** 19:28: IC is requesting the Gas Co. get a CHP escort since they're stuck in traffic on PCH trying to get to the scene. Fire's mostly quieted down except for a few residences that have gas main breaks and are threatening nearby exposures. I'm headed home and might do a wrapup later. Quick work by LACoFD seems to have paid off as much as possible.

***UPDATE*** 19:11: IC is releasing one of the water-dropping helos and things are darkening down along the line of burned structures. But the KTTV feed just showed a live shot of units in staging with an LAFD strike team arriving on PCH. Only caught the last two units in the strike team but it included LAFD Engine 63 (Venice) and Engine 71 (Bel-Air/Beverly Glen). 71's interesting because its station is located in a high brush area in the middle of "Red Flag" country. So they probably have at least one, if not two units moved up to 71s.

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Funny, as I update the blog in the New Year and what should happen? Malibu encounters its annual burn.

I spent the better half of the day reminding co-workers that we usually get a hot spell at least once in January. I remember enjoying the surf off my former home in Manhattan Beach in past Januarys, marveling at the hot weather before it would turn "cold" again at the end of the week. I also recall that Malibu burns at least once a year, sometimes in January.

Not a huge surprise given the Red Flag warnings of the past week or so. LACoFD had predeployed units out in Malibu (and likely every other brush area) given the weather conditions so they were able to dump a bunch of units right on top of things when it lit off.

So it came as little surprise when the AP bulletin hit and I sit here now glued to the LACoFD Blue 2 frequency (470.4375). After about 1 hour and 20 mins, Malibu IC reported 8 homes destroyed and another 5 damaged. Likely, they'll lose them all. Since I'm on Blue 2 and sitting in Beverly Hills, I can't hear anything on the simplex Tacs and I'm not scanning, just sticking to the main operations frequency.

Likely a ton of moveups on Blue 3 and Blue 8. Baywatch Malibu is standing by offshore as Lifeguard units are also committed. For a time, they backed off the structure protection teams over concerns of a high-pressure gas line under the homes. Then, they had a water pressure drop and order four water tenders into the scene. Water pressure is now being restored.

They also declined a request for additional helos from both LA City and County fire. The LACoFD chief is also on scene, so now we KNOW it's a big one. Looking at a live KTTV Feed I found online, it looks like the structures are pretty much burned out and the big fire is laying down.

A bunch of additional Strike Teams are at staging now on PCH, and LAFD and Ventura are also ramping up units. Looks like they'll probably confine this to the brush that's burned uphill and hopefully make a stand on the homes lining the beach.

Tons of good scanning on this one and a good thread over at (unofficial).

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