Woolsey Fire Now Among Largest On Record In LA County; Flare-Up Reported In Carlisle Canyon, Lake Sherwood Area
The wildfires sweeping across Southern California have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed at least two people and injured several more, and ravaged beloved landmarks and park space.
Here's the latest on the fires burning in SoCal as of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The blaze is now one of the largest on record to burn in Los Angeles County.
Speaking at an 11 a.m. press conference Tuesday, L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said the Woolsey Fire had burned more than 150 square miles, "larger than the size of the city of Denver," and said it was now the largest on record going back 100 years. However, LAist could not immediately verify that claim. At least one other local fire, the Station Fire of 2009, had a larger footprint, burning more than 160,000 acres.
Osby compared the challenge of this incident to the magnitude of what he witnessed when responding to Hurricane Katrina.
Just before 9:30 a.m., Ventura County fire officials reported "increased fire activity" in the Boney Mountain area near Carlisle Canyon and Lake Sherwood.
Fire officials said the blaze jumped the containment line and had burned at least 50 acres so far. Multiple firefighting planes and helicopters responded, along with ground crews.
"Residents in the area and downwind should be prepared to evacuate," authorities said on Twitter.
Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said the offshoot blaze broke out in unburned canyons and wind pushed the flames up Boney Mountain.
"The wind is currently pushing the fire up and away from the populated areas," he said.
Mandatory evacuation orders had already been issued for the area south of Potrero Road in the Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley areas, which includes Carlisle Road. Ventura County Sheriff's Department officials issued a reminder that the order was still in effect.
Authorities also reminded residents not to fly drones in the area because it poses a risk to firefighting aircraft.
"Now is not the time to get those pictures," Ventura County sheriff's Capt. Denise Sliva said.
Thousands of firefighters remain on the line Tuesday, working to contain the blaze, which has burned more than 97,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced repopulation for several new areas at 3 p.m., including portions of Calabasas, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Malibu. The complete repopulation list can be found here.
The community of Topanga and the city of Malibu remain under evacuation orders.
According to Southern California Edison, some portions of Calabasas might be without power as residents return home.
The fire broke out Thursday afternoon north of Bell Canyon and rapidly moved south through the Santa Monica Mountains, jumping the 101 Freeway and tearing through hillside communities in Malibu, eventually burning all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Two people were found dead Friday afternoon in the 3300 block of Mullholland Highway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Investigators believe the driver may have become disoriented while escaping the area, but the investigation is ongoing.
The National Weather Service extended its Red Flag warning through 5 p.m. Wednesday for Ventura County, the mountains of L.A. County and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. The warning for the L.A. coast from Malibu to the Hollywood Hills remains in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday.
On Monday night, fire officials said the Woolsey Fire had scorched more than 80 percent of the total National Park lands in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Park Service officials responded to a flood of inquries about the condition of wildlife in the mountains, saying the home ranges of four local bobcats have been completely destroyed. They added that some of the mountain lions biologists are tracking have not yet been accounted for, but said that wasn't out of the ordinary given how the cougars are monitored.
On Tuesday, officials said they had located two more mountain lions, leaving only three unaccounted for.
UPDATE: GPS collars for 2 more lions (P-47 and P-54) checked in, so we can confirm they are moving around normally. We"re still unsure of one with a working collar (P-74) and 2 whose collars only have the VHF function, meaning we have to track them in person (P-22 and P-42).— Santa Monica Mtns (@SantaMonicaMtns) November 13, 2018
President Donald Trump meanwhile said he had approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration, which would open up federal funds to assist fire-ravaged California.
"Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on," Trump tweeted Monday. "I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected."
BY THE NUMBERS
- 97,114 acres burned
- Containment at 40%
- 2 deaths reported
- 3 firefighters injured
- At least 435 structures destroyed and 35 damaged
- 57,000 structures threatened
- About 3,590 firefighting personnel on scene
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Southern California Edison voluntarily reported an equipment outage at its Chatsworth substation near where the fire began. The outage came just two minutes before the Woolsey Fire was first reported, but Edison stressed that there has so far been no indication from public officials that utility equipment could have been responsible for sparking the fire.
SoCal Edison reported the outage to the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday and said it will cooperate with investigators.
PEAK AND LYNN FIRES
Two new fires broke out Monday, with one burning right off the 118 Freeway in the Santa Susana Pass and spreading south before firefighters stopped forward progress in the afternoon. That blaze, dubbed the Peak Fire, scorched about 186 acres but was fully contained by 4:30 p.m.
The 118 Freeway was shut down in both directions between Simi Valley and Chatsworth but was fully reopened around 6 p.m.
A second fire in Thousand Oaks, the Lynn Fire, burned about 5 acres but was quickly contained.
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- These Images Show How Devastating The Woolsey Fire Is
- How You Can Help Those Affected By The Southern California Wildfires
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Firefighters continue to make good progress on the Hill Fire, which was holding at 4,531 acres and is now 92 percent contained, according to the latest update from Cal Fire.
Two structures have been destroyed and no deaths or injuries have been reported. About 40 firefighters remain on the fire line.
The only remaining evacuation order is for Point Mugu Naval Base, according to Cal Fire.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, including evacuation orders, road closures, evacuation centers and animal shelters, check the following sites and social media accounts:
- Cal Fire Incident Information
- Cal Fire on Twitter
- Los Angeles County Emergency Information
- Ventura County Emergency Information
- Los Angeles County Fire Public Information Officer on Twitter
- Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Twitter
- Ventura County Fire Public Information Officer on Twitter
- The National Weather Service Los Angeles on Twitter
7:30 p.m.: Updates new Woolsey Fire containment and acreage figures.
6:32 p.m.: Updates new Hill Fire containment figure.
4:32 p.m.: Adds new repopulation areas.
4:07 p.m.: Adds new info on mountain lion status.
11:25 a.m.: This article was updated with new information from a press briefing.
10:23 a.m.: This article was updated with a reminder from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department of existing evacuation orders.
9:45 a.m.: This article was updated with information about flare-up.
This article was originally published at 7:36 a.m.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story stated, without qualification, L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby's claim that the Woolsey Fire is now the largest on record. LAist has not independently verified the claim, and the story has been updated accordingly.
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