Oct 21, 2007

The Canyon Fire in Malibu

You can click on any of my pictures to get it full screen- and it is worth it- they are really detailed- like the one above

I wokeup this morning to the news that Malibu was on fire...

Driving into Malibu, all you saw was smoke

It got a little thicker after Big Rock Road, where we had to leave the car and go on foot.

Suddenly, we rounded the turn and it seemed like we were right there

...but that smoke was really a few miles away- which we know because we went onto the beach and walked it (no better safety than being in the water!)

Carbon Beach- with million dollar homes awash in thick smoke (You can read the street sign- Carbon Canyon Road)

We knew we were getting close when we saw helicopters flying low overhead

Above are photos of the 'copter scooping 3,000 pounds of water from the ocean!!!

The smoke started getting much thicker (you can't tell but it had a reddish hue from the smoke partially blocking the sun)

Another helicopter scooping more water- they flew out every few minutes to refill

Thick black smoke meant we were close- fire that is under control usually has gray smoke

'Copters flying overhead (probably news copters)

Smoke on the beach was so thick, we went back up to the main road to see what was going on

And found ourselves in the thick of it all- chaos, fire, smoke and news vans

The stores right under this ridge were at very high risk of burning too

So they were dousing them with water before the flames got too close

Every media outlet was there- ABC, CBS, CNN, Univision

Below- these are pictures of Jeffrey Katzenberg's house being covered in flame retardant foam- his was the only property that was smart enough to hire a guy to do this- and it looked incredible- like Christmas in Hell with all the white foam everywhere and the red flames shooting up all around, lit up in red from the sun behind the smoke

Those were pics of his house- and obviously his pre-planning worked- because it remained untouched!

The ridge fire was getting really close to the houses below it

They dumped so much water on it, the fire didn't get a chance

A firefighter gave us a mask (I know, it matches my dress!) and even though its a stupid piece of fabric, it really helped me breathe through the thick smoke- there were ashes and soot in the air and it was pretty awful, even my sunglasses helped protect my eyes

Just as suddenly as we came upon it, the fire was behind us, and the air was just thick with gray smoke- proof that there was some control over it.

We ended up hitching a ride back to our car and on the drive back to the hotel we had the windows wide open- we smelled like old barbecue! After a long shower, my eyes are still itchy, and my throat is a little sore, but it was worth the experience- we see this stuff on the news and don't even blink- hopefully I can bring some awareness to people about how serious these fires are.

You know the old saying- Malibu has a natural fire break, the ocean- well it's true- but maybe there should be stronger rules about what materials homes are built out of (i.e. fire retardant materials) and every property should be ordered to have a sprinkler system to keep the roof and vegetation wet in these situations.

At this time, the fires are still burning, there are 80 mph winds that keep blowing it further and further, and the firemen are working tirelessly, but they project that this may go on for a few more days! Stay safe, be smart, and hope that they fight this fire and end it soon.

I have included a few newslisnks if you want to read more about the fires

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