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Submitted by City of Malibu
11:49 am PDT September 24, 2019

The National Weather Service forecasts the first Santa Ana wind event of the 2019/2020 wildfire season will last into the morning of Wednesday, September 25, with the strongest winds expected on Tuesday.

During this first Santa Ana wind event, NWS expects the area could potentially experience elevated, brief critical fire weather conditions, with the potential for large fire growth with extreme fire behavior.

Projected Wind Speeds:

• L.A. and Ventura Counties mountain areas: north-northeast 15-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph

• L.A. and Ventura Counties valleys: north-northeast 10-25 mph with gusts to 35 mph

• L.A. and Ventura Counties coastal areas:  north-northeast 10-20 mph

• Minimum Humidities: 8-15% Tuesday, and 12-25% Wednesday

• Max Temperatures: 90-102 degrees Tuesday, and 87-99 degrees Wednesday

Currently, fuel moisture levels in the Santa Monica Mountains are higher than average for this time of year, which reduces the risk of wildfire, according to the L.A. County Fire Department, which regularly monitors fuel moisture levels. The NWS said that there is still some uncertainty whether offshore winds will reach coastal areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

The City and the L.A. County Fire Department are closely monitoring fire conditions, and the Fire Department is deploying additional resources in the Malibu area. The City will send out emergency and weather alerts and post announcements on social media and the website as conditions warrant. 

Residents are advised to monitor the weather on local news such as KNX AM 1070 and KBUU FM 99.1, as well as the National Weather Service at www.Weather.gov/LOX. To sign up to receive City weather and emergency alerts by text and email, visit www.MalibuCity.org/News (scroll down to Alert Center). Residents should also review their family emergency and evacuation plans, check their “go bags” and emergency supplies to ensure food, water, medication and batteries have not expired, and read the L.A. County Fire Department’s “Ready, Set, GO!” guide at www.Fire.LACounty.gov/RSG.

In preparation for peak wildfire season in the fall, City staff has engaged in numerous preparedness activities, trainings and community events to promote community-wide readiness. These activities include weekly testing of the Disaster Notification System throughout September, disaster preparedness classes for seniors and people with disabilities, Community Emergency Response Team courses, workshops on how to harden homes against fire, and community meetings on wildfire preparedness.

The City recently conducted a Malibu Evacuation Tabletop Exercise meant to enhance evacuation coordination, communication and response among the many agencies that work together during a wildfire impacting Malibu. The City, L.A. County Fire, L.A. County Sheriff, CHP, L.A. County Public Works, Caltrans, Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness, L.A. County Beaches and Harbors, Santa Monica Police, Ventura County Sheriff and County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office participated in the exercise, which will be held annually. 

The City’s Fire Safety Liaison has been working with community members to assess household wildfire risk and help residents and groups to harden their homes against flying embers, which are a main cause of homes catching fire during a wildfire. The City’s Fire Safety Liaison’s outreach includes situational awareness, early evacuation, creating defensible space around homes, and hardening homes against flying embers, based on the L.A. County Fire Department’s “Ready, Set, GO!” guide.

Learn more about the City’s emergency preparedness activities at www.MalibuCity.org/Emergency.