Malibu residents return to communities after fire burns 50 homes

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by nakedwally, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. nakedwally

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    Source: Malibu residents return to communities after fire burns 50 homes


    Residents began making their way through back streets and dirt roads Sunday afternoon into evacuated areas of this upscale coastal community to see if their homes survived the sprawling wind-driven wildfire that scorched the surrounding brush-covered hills.

    Some homes along Corral Canyon Road, near the source of the blaze, had been reduced to blackened wrecks, while others were barely damaged.

    "There's no rhyme or reason to it," said Frank Churchill, who returned home with his wife and four children to find his white stucco home largely undamaged, while three surrounding homes were leveled. "It doesn't make sense."

    Fifty homes and two outbuildings were destroyed Saturday by the fast-moving wildfire pushed by Santa Ana winds. Twenty-seven other homes were damaged and 10,000 to 14,000 people remained under evacuation orders.

    The fire that scorched 4,720 acres since early Saturday was about 40 percent contained, with few flames visible to water-dropping helicopters deployed over the fire zone, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Ron Haralson said.

    "Winds have subsided considerably and we're making good headway," he said.

    By late Sunday morning, skies had cleared and the column of smoke billowing over the hills had all but vanished. Aside from the dozens of fire trucks from all over California dotting Pacific Coast Highway, there was little evidence the fire still was burning.

    The seaside enclave had been recovering from last month's 4,565-acre Canyon Fire that destroyed six homes, two businesses and a church when the winds began whipping up again overnight Saturday.

    Some residents whose property made it through last month's fire unscathed weren't so lucky this time.

    "This time I lost," said a soot-covered Glen Sunyich, who watched his stucco and tile house he built in 1990 slowly burn to the ground. "It means that I didn't build it well enough."

    Another resident who lost his home was Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, whose real name is Michael Balzary, property records showed.

    Balzary had purchased another home in Malibu last year, but the one destroyed was for sale for $4.8 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.

    Hundreds of firefighters and equipment from throughout the state had been positioned in Southern California for most of the week because of the predicted Santa Ana winds.

    All of the homes were destroyed in the fire's initial Saturday morning surge before the winds slowed and firefighters gained a foothold. Full containment was expected by Tuesday, officials said.

    Fifteen helicopters and 15 airplanes including a retardant-dropping DC-10 jumbo jet attacked from the air Saturday while 1,700 firefighters battled flames on the ground. Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries.

    Investigators had determined that the fire, which broke out along a dirt road off a paved highway, was caused by humans, but had not determined if it was started intentionally, said county fire Inspector Rick Dominguez.

    Sherifs deputies with dogs surveyed the roadside area on Sunday that neighbors said is a popular spot for late night outdoor partying by young people.

    "I've been up there and seen howling groups of teenagers drinking," Corral Canyon Road resident Ricardo Means, 57, said of the rugged spot near the top of his winding street where blackened beer cans could be seen littering the ground.

    Malibu, with homes tucked into deep and narrow canyons along 27 miles of coast on the southern foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, is prone to Santa Ana-driven wildfires. Among them was a 1993 blaze that destroyed 388 structures, including 268 homes, and killed three people.

    Saturday's fire was west of the areas of Malibu that burned in October.

    Santa Ana winds, triggered by high pressure over the Great Basin, blow into Southern California from the north and northeast, racing through the canyons and passes of the region's east-west mountain ranges and out to sea, pushing back the normal flow of moist ocean air.

    Two high schools were set up to handle evacuees, but no one had come to one school and the other only had 20 people.
     
  2. Mem

    Mem
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    That really sucks. I was just in that area, for a brief time, a week ago on vacation. I didn't see any signs of a fire. I only drove on the Pacific Coast Highway and I guess most of the damage previously done was more inland.
     
  3. transformer_99

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    I really think the family/child that started the fires prior to this need to be made an example of. I'm tired of it happening every year, even multiple times in the same year. It's bad enough this nation endures insurance catastrophe's in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and so on. Arson and other insurance frauds cost all of us and those that perpetrate it need to be severely punished for their actions. I'm almost 100 % certain these fires are caused by those that are upside down on a mortgage and the only way out for them is a catastrophic write off loss on their home by an insurance company. Every year, about this time of the year too, we read about the condo or apartment fire(s) that leave families homeless during the holidays, enough is enough, it's not an accident any more and it's not OK !
     
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