Malibuites Urged to Stay on Wildfire Alert
BY ANNE SOBLE
Local fire department personnel have been kept busy changing the Smokey Bear wildfire condition signs at a dizzying pace last week as conditions changed from low to moderate to high, and back to low and moderate, depending on whether the marine layer or the offshore winds were dominating Malibu weather.
As the Malibu Surfside News went to press, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has received notification from the National Weather Service that predicts weather conditions that called for a "red flag warning."
Strong northeast winds and very low humidities are expected for the mountains, passes, and canyons of Los Angeles County from Tuesday through Wednesday. This weather, combined with extremely dry brush, creates high fire danger in the Malibu area.
Thursday may continue on red flag alert or begin a transition that by Friday includes the possibility of light precipitation. The need to frequently update the Smokey Bear signs are to be expected when there is a La Niña influence on Southern California weather.
When a red flag alert is called, local residents are reminded to take basic precautions including:
• Report any sign of smoke immediately by dialing 911. If dialing 911 from a cellular phone, be prepared to provide the location.
• Use caution when operating spark- or flame-producing machinery in grass or brush areas. This causes more fires than arson.
• Malibuites are urged to have a wildfire action plan in place, including pre-planning and possible evacuation procedures, a way for family members to coordinate if they are scattered, special plans for disabled individuals, and equipment to safeguard or transport pets and livestock.
• Everyone should remain vigilant and report suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.