Last week, fire meetings were held in Big Rock and at Camp 8 for the Las Flores and Rambla communities—standing room only. Were you there or will you be left unprepared when fire hits Eastern Malibu? In 1993, 385 homes burned. Two people died. Your inaction will endanger your home and your neighbors. Please attend the fire meetings around the city to learn to harden your home and protect your neighbors. Future meetings include Fire Safe on April 8 at 7 p.m. at Fire Camp 8 and Tree People at 6 p.m. on April 9 at City Hall. (Sign up on the city’s website.)

Consider the environmental disaster Woosley caused, the impact of rebuilding in terms of materials and the remains dumped in a landfill, days of bad air quality, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, deer and hawks being incinerated.

Takeaways from Sunday’s meeting: 

1. You are on your own. You can’t count on the fire department being there. They are understaffed and, as in Woosley, were deployed elsewhere.

2. Forty mile-per-hour Santa Ana winds. Power shutdown. Your home is pelted by embers. They hit the side of your house. A few hit vents, but are stopped until they burn down and are small enough to enter your attic. Your house burns the next day. Or the embers hit your house and fall to the ground, but you have ornamental bark, like I do (soon to be removed). The embers ignite the bark. The fire burns right next to your house. The flames find a way in.

3. A video of Mayor Jefferson Wagner fighting the fire at his home in Latigo. He’s hiding behind box trucks he uses for his studio work. Since he’s done 600 feet of strategic clearance he’s in good shape—until the flames reach his neighbor’s property. Inadequate clearance. In seconds, the chaparral explodes, towering 300 feet over him. Jefferson’s house is engulfed in flames and smoke.

Scott Dittrich

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