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An LA County Fire Department helicopter drops water on a small brush fire that burned in the Big Rock neighborhood of Malibu on Thursday, July 16, one of the first brush fires of the 2020 fire season in Malibu. Firefighters made quick work of the blaze, which was kept to just 1.5 acres. 

As the earlier optimism about the defeat of COVID-19 began to fade, the county turned to stronger measures and closed down the beaches and the parking lots for the July 4th holiday weekend. They also banned fireworks displays for fear they would attract crowds. Reports of increased hospitalizations and deaths were the driving force and even Malibu has seen a major jump in the stats with 52 Malibu residents testing positive and another 48 testing positive in the unincorporated Santa Monica Mountains. The sheriff, however, was balking at enforcement and said in a radio interview that they were not consulted about the beach closings and would not enforce it, except for parking lots.

There were several concentrated outbreaks of the virus, meaning a cluster of six or more people testing positive. Outbreaks require a closing down and preventative cleanup and other measures be taken. In July, clusters hit Moonshadows Restaurant and Pepperdine University. Pepperdine, with 44 testing positive, indicated they were shifting direction and would only have online courses in the fall, and not open with students in attendance as they previously had hoped to do.

PCH had another fatality, in the vicinity of PCH and Winding Way, a very popular location because of its access to Escondido Falls and Paradise Cove Beach. The pedestrian death was one of the half-dozen or so at or near that location, where many park and run across the highway to hike the local trails which are widely publicized on the internet.

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