Drew Smith

LA County Fire Department Battalion Chief Drew Smith (bottom right) describes the Tuna Canyon fire during the Monday, July 12, council meeting.

A July 9 fire that burned above Tuna Canyon in eastern Malibu was likely caused by a homeless encampment in the mountains, according to LA County Fire Department Battalion Chief Drew Smith. Smith described the firefighting efforts to Malibu City Council on Monday.

“We know that preliminary findings point to persons experiencing homelessness was most likely the cause of this,” Smith said. “We don’t have anyone detained.”

The fire, which burned in a “remote area,” presented challenges to firefighters, according to Smith—firefighters laid a quarter-mile of hose to reach the blaze, which burned in the predawn hours of Friday morning, aided by three aircraft. A total of 133,000 gallons of water were dropped on the fire, originating from 69 Bravo in Topanga. The dark, steep terrain and remote location were all factors of difficulty. There were no reported injuries and no evacuations, although the road was closed for hours.

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