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Dangerous winds prompt new fears for deadly Woolsey Fire

Posted: 3:40 PM, Nov 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-11 18:53:45-05

(UPDATE 3:20 p.m.) — As predicted, the strong Santa Ana winds have returned in Southern California as firefighters battle the Woolsey Fire. As of Sunday morning, 83,275 acres have burned destroying at least 177 homes although the number is expected to climb after assessment teams worked their way through neighborhoods.

Several flare-ups in the Malibu and western San Fernando Valley were reported before noon Sunday as winds started to kick up.

Two people died found burned to death in a vehicle. According to NBC Los Angeles, three firefighters were injured battling the fire, but a Cal Fire media representative would not disclose the extent of the injuries, or say where the injured firefighters were from.

The fire began Thursday afternoon. At least 75,000 homes have been evacuated. An estimated 265,000 people in LA and Ventura counties fled as the fire consumed multimillion-dollar mansions and mobile homes. The cause remained under investigation, Cal Fire said.

UPDATE (2:40 p.m.)  – Santa Barbara County firefighters are releasing new video of their work at the Woolsey Fire.

In a twitter video posted Sunday by Mike Eliason, public information officer, Santa Barbara County Firefighter flew a unit aircraft over the fire with other agencies.

The video shows the scope of the damage, as the fire was pushed by strong winds Friday afternoon.


UPDATE (2:05 p.m.) – Actor Gerard Butler and Camille Grammer Meyer of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” are among the celebrities whose homes have been damaged or destroyed in a Southern California wildfire.

Butler said on Instagram that his Malibu home is “half-gone,” and shared a photo of himself standing in front of a burned-out section of the house and a badly burned vehicle.

Meyer’s publicist Howard Bragman confirms that her house in Malibu was destroyed Saturday night. He says she’s grateful to have safely evacuated with her family, is appreciative of firefighters who have risked their lives fighting the blaze, and is grateful to the love and concern shown for her.

Alyssa Milano, Lady Gaga, Martin Sheen and Kim Kardashian West are among those who have evacuated from the wildfire that has destroyed at least 177 homes and left two people dead since it broke out Thursday.

(UPDATE 12:20 p.m.) – A mobile home community has suffered significant destruction from Southern California’s huge wildfire.

News helicopters have shown extensive devastation in Seminole Springs, which is nestled by a lake in the rugged Santa Monica Mountains north of Malibu.

Resident Lisa Kin says Sunday that when she smelled the fire she grabbed her dog Gidget and fled, and has since spent two nights at an evacuation center.

Kin says she fears the worst for her community, a mix of families and older people.

As of Sunday morning, the Woolsey fire had burned 83,000 and is 10% contained.

(UPDATE 11:00 a.m.) – A member of the Malibu City Council has been injured by the huge wildfire burning in Southern California.

Councilman Skylar Peak said Sunday that colleague Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner suffered burns trying to save his home, which burned down.

Peak says Wagner is hospitalized down the coast in Santa Monica and is expected to recover.

Wagner runs Zuma Jay Surfboards, a longtime fixture on Pacific Coast Highway near the landmark Malibu Pier.

UPDATE (10:50 a.m.) – Ventura and Los Angeles County Firefighters are warning residents around Malibu who have sheltered in place to evacuate immediately, ahead of winds that are expected to pick up and drive the fire.

As of Sunday morning, the Woolsey Fire had 10 percent containment. Firefighters said they are concerned about the remaining open lines and hot spots throughout the area that could spread quickly in a wind event.

Crews are currently working to contain the fire north of Pacific Palisades and Malibu. There are 3,000 personnel working the fire.

(UPDATE 10:18 a.m.) – Strong Santa Ana winds have returned to Southern California, fanning a huge wildfire that has scorched a string of communities west of Los Angeles.

A one-day lull in the dry, northeasterly winds ended Sunday morning and authorities warn that the gusts will continue through Tuesday.

Fire officials say the lull allowed firefighters to gain 10 percent control of the so-called Woolsey fire, which has burned more than 130 square miles in western Los Angeles County and southeastern Ventura County since Thursday.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby says that means 90 percent of the fire lines are uncontained and there are numerous hotspots and plenty of fuel that has not burned.

Huge plumes of smoke are rising again in the fire area, which stretches miles from the northwest corner of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley to the Malibu coast.


UPDATE (8 a.m.) – Fire officials reported Sunday morning that containment of the Woolsey Fire had increased overnight to 10 percent.

Mandatory evacuations remain in place for the entire community of Bell Canyon and Oak Park and other portions of both counties.


(7:30 a.m.) – Firefighters are preparing for a morning briefing on two fires that have charred thousands of acres in Southern California, destroyed more than 150 structures and claimed at least two lives.

At last check, the Woolsey Fire was 83,275 acres and just 5 percent contained.

It broke out Thursday afternoon in the Thousand Oaks area and was quickly burning in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

Photo:LAFireAirOps
Photo:LAFireAirOps

The focus Saturday was cutting containment lines to try to help keep the fire in check. Firefighters are preparing for another wind event Sunday that could bring strong 30-40 mph winds to the area.

Firefighters the Central and South coasts and even other states have responded to assist in the fight to gain control on the fire. Local law enforcement personnel have also been sent to the area.

Highway 101 remains closed in Los Angeles County from Valley Circle Boulevard in Calabasas to Reyes Adobe Road in Agora Hills.

A press briefing with updated information is planned for 9:30 a.m. and will be streamed live at KSBY.com.

The Hill Fire, which broke out Thursday afternoon south of Simi Valley, has charred at least 4,531 acres and was 70 percent contained Sunday morning.

The fire destroyed two structures and damaged two others.

Evacuations for those affected by that fire have been lifted.

No word on the cause of either fire.