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Staff Report
2:39 pm PDT October 8, 2019

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said it has increased staffing in anticipation of the “strongest offshore wind event so far this season” across northern, central and southern California.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 8, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for most areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties from 3 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, through 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, with a “moderate to strong Santa Ana wind event” creating critical fire weather conditions. 

“Wind gusts between 45 and 70 mph are expected during the Thursday mid morning to mid afternoon peak,” the alert states. “Minimum humidities in the 3 to 10 percent range will be common. With dry fuel conditions established, critical fire weather conditions are expected. With confidence high, the previous Fire Weather Watch has been converted to a Red Flag Warning.”

Chief Thom Porter, Cal Fire director, urged residents to remain vigilant in an Oct. 8 press release.

“With some of the most destructive and deadliest fires occurring October through December, we need Californians to not be complacent,” Porter states. “Wind driven fires move fast, and residents need to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice in the event of a wildfire.

“We have increased our staffing, but need the public to remain vigilant. It is important to follow evacuation orders and leave early as fires move very fast under these conditions.”

Cal Fire also urged families to have emergency supplies and an evacuation plan.

Residents also are reminded that power shut-offs are possible, and the City of Malibu received notice from Southern California Edison on Wednesday evening that a PSPS may be implemented in western Malibu between 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, and 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11.

If there is a shutoff, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is expected to cancel school at Malibu Middle and High schools on Friday.

"Individuals who are medically dependent on electricity service should consider proactively staying in another area until conditions change," the City's alert states. "Residents are encouraged to check on family members and neighbors who may need assistance."

The City also noted that it could take 24 to 72 hours after the hazardous conditions to re-energize circuits as SCE inspects its powerlines. 

For more information, call Malibu City Hall at (310) 456-2489.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services have also prepositioned additional firefighters and equipment in areas identified as having elevated risk of wind-driven wildfires. Residents are reminded that 90 percent of wildfires are caused by human activity and are asked to call 9-1-1 at the first sign of smoke or fire.

For more on wildfire preparation and evacuation steps, visit ReadyForWildfire.org and preventwildfireca.org.