[Update, Nov. 24, 11:25 a.m.] Southern California Edison has expanded the areas under consideration for public safety power shut-off (PSPS), the utility company's intentional blackout program, in Malibu. The circuits under consideration now include areas in the eastern part of the Malibu Hills around Monte Nido and Calabasas, as well as the previously announced Galahad, Maguire, Cuthbert, Merlin, and Seaboard circuits.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning across large areas of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties from Wednesday, Nov. 24, through Friday, Nov. 26, with mountainous areas under elevated fire risk due to dry, windy conditions.
That announcement triggered Malibu’s energy provider, Southern California Edison (SCE), to issue a warning of its own: tens of thousands of customers across the region are being considered for intentional blackouts under the utility company’s controversial PSPS—public safety power shut-off—program. In Malibu, those include nearly all residents living west of Malibu Lagoon.
The program, which cuts power to residences and businesses during high wind events with the purpose of avoiding fires started by downed power lines, lists the Galahad, Maguire, Cuthbert, Merlin, and Seaboard circuits under PSPS consideration, covering an expanse that runs approximately from Pt. Mugu to the Malibu Lagoon. Power could be cut to those areas at any time from noon on Wednesday through noon on Friday, meaning Malibuites gathered for Thanksgiving could find themselves in the dark.
According to the City of Malibu, “the strongest winds are expected Wednesday through Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, with gusts up to 40 MPH, and some isolated gusts of over 60 in some foothills and valleys. Fuels after this historic heatwave will be at critical levels, with minimum humidities between 2-8 percent.”
The city has preemptively closed both Trancas and Charmlee Wilderness parks from Wednesday through Friday due to increased fire danger.
In the time since the Woolsey Fire, the City of Malibu has worked to develop improved plans for major fires. In the case of an evacuation, there are now five zones that can be evacuated individually to avoid the traffic issues experienced during the mass evacuation during Woolsey. Residents can find their zone by visiting malibucity.org/ZoneSearch and entering their address into the drop-down.
During Red Flag Warnings, the California Office of Emergency Services recommends residents study evacuation routes, identify items they would like to take in the event of an evacuation, and assemble emergency supply kits.
Find more tips at readyforwildfire.org.