Additional Fire Crews Stood Watch as Santa Ana Winds Racked Malibu
• Wildfire Danger Was Dubbed 'Very High' Last Weekend
BY ANNE SOBLE
A high wind warning and red flag alert dominated the local weather picture last weekend. The winds persisted longer than first anticipated as deadline after deadline for cancellation of the warning had to be extended.
Los Angeles County fire crews and equipment were deployed throughout wildfire prone areas and residents were asked to monitor their neighborhoods for downed trees, utility poles and wires, as well as the statistically less likely probability of arson.
The National Weather Service called the weekend wind almost to the mile as local wind meters confirmed predicted speeds of 60 to 70 mph in the western Malibu Hills area. Residents who would like to check out NWS forecasts can go to: http://www.nws.gov
Additional county fire department info for red flag warnings is available at: http://fire.lacounty.gov/SafetyPreparedness/SafetyPrepFireStorms.asp
The recent weather is a pointed reminder that emergency preparedness is a priority for everyone that lives in wildland interface areas such as Malibu. A well thought out and readily executable emergency plan is a must for everyone in the 90265 zip code.
Residents should take appropriate precautions that include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Report any sign of smoke immediately to the local fire department by dialing 911. If dialing 911 from a cellular phone, one is required to provide a geographic location.
• Use extreme caution when operating spark or flame producing machinery in areas near high grass, brush or other flammables.
• Prepare an evacuation plan and identify two exit routes from the location. The fire department emphasizes evacuation as a preferred policy in active fire zones.
• Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to law enforcement.
Veterans of Malibu wildfires—some have been through a half dozen of them—stress organization and trying to remain calm and focused. Wildfires claim hundreds of structures, but they result in very few lost lives when compared to major earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other natural phenomena.