City of Malibu Marks Annual Day of Preparedness and the Four-Year Anniversary of the Devastating Woolsey Fire by Asking Community Members to Take One Action Toward Disaster Preparedness
Four years ago on November 9, 2018, Malibu was devastated by the worst wildfire in the City’s history and the largest in Los Angeles County history. The Woolsey Fire destroyed nearly 500 homes in Malibu, took the lives of three people, and left the community traumatized and struggling to recover and rebuild.
On the four-year anniversary of the Woolsey Fire, the City of Malibu commemorates the catastrophe, and offers support to all the people who lost homes and possessions, were displaced, and are still recovering. The City renews its pledge to never stop working to help the community rebuild and recover, and never stop striving to be better prepared and help the community to be more prepared and resilient for wildfires.
“The scars left behind by the Woolsey Fire will always remind us that we live in wildfire territory, so I encourage everyone in Malibu to take one step toward preparedness,” said Mayor Paul Grisanti. “I want you to know that the City Council and City staff are here for you, we support you, and we hear you. We are doing everything possible to help you rebuild, and to prepare for future wildfires.”
In response to the Woolsey Fire, the City committed to enhancing community-wide preparedness for future wildfires and declared November 9 as the City of Malibu's Annual Day of Preparedness. This year, the City asks every homeowner, resident, business, employee, student, school and organization in Malibu to take at least one step to be more prepared for wildfires. To encourage and inspire others in the community to join in this effort, please share the preparedness steps you are taking and ideas you have on social media with the hashtag #MalibuPrepared.
The City offers 10 steps that can be taken for your household, business, school or organization, any one of which can improve wildfire preparedness.
- Make a wildfire emergency plan including evacuation routes, reunification locations and emergency contact numbers.
- Gather emergency supplies, including food, water, first aid kit, prescription medication, cash, clothes, important documents, lights, an emergency radio and pet supplies.
- Make an emergency plan for pets, horses and large animals, including copies of vaccinations and registration, microchipping, carriers or horse trailers, and locations of out-of-area large animal shelters, and out-of-area hotels that allow pets.
- Check in on elderly or disabled neighbors, friends and family to ensure that they have emergency plans and supplies, and include checking in on them in your own emergency plan.
- Sign up for emergency alerts from the City of Malibu (scroll to Alert Center) and from Los Angeles County (which includes alerts from the Sheriff’s and Fire Departments) Visit the website, create a profile, and add your home or business street address to improve the City’s ability to send out targeted evacuation notifications.
- Harden your home against flying embers. Make sure all flammable materials such as dry wood, dead or dry vegetation, wood mulch, and wood furniture are not touching the house. Cover attic vents and rain gutters with fine steel mesh. Schedule an appointment with the City’s Fire Safety Liaisons for a free home wildfire hardening assessment on the webpage or by email at FireSafety@MalibuCity.org.
- Create defensible space around your home by performing brush clearance, tree trimming, and removing dead leaves from the roof to protect it from burning material and to give firefighters space to do their work safely. Learn more with the online guide.
- Get the free emergency survival guides from the City of Malibu or Los Angeles County.
- Sign up for a crisis first aid, CPR or Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. The American Red Cross offers several kinds of online trainings. The City also offers CERT and first aid trainings several times each year, with online offerings during the pandemic. All upcoming classes will be posted on the website.
- Maintain situational awareness by monitoring fire weather conditions, forecasts and hazards on local TV and AM and FM radio news stations and on the National Weather Service Los Angeles/Oxnard website.
Since the Woolsey Fire, the City’s wildfire preparedness efforts have expanded to include offering free home wildfire hardening assessments for residents; ramping up efforts to remove homeless encampments that pose a fire threat; creating a Zero Power Plan for disseminating emergency information to the community during widespread power outages; hiring two Fire Safety Liaisons; increasing the number of CERT, first aid and emergency preparedness trainings for residents; starting a grant-funded hazard tree removal program; holding numerous Emergency Operations Center (EOC) trainings for staff and multi-agency wildfire and evacuation scenarios every year; developing a Citywide Mass Evacuation Plan and Community Wildfire Protection Plan; creating a free Malibu-specific emergency survival guide; conducting disaster notification drills several times per year; holding an annual Public Safety Expo and offering numerous emergency preparedness trainings and community briefings as part of National Preparedness Month every year; and many other actions.
The City continues to offer resources and assistance to homeowners working on their Woolsey Fire rebuild projects. The City’s Environmental Sustainability Director / Building Official, Yolanda Bundy, who leads the City’s rebuild efforts, reports that, as of November 3, 247 building permits to begin rebuilding single-family homes destroyed in the Woolsey Fire have been issued and a total of 349 have been approved by the Planning Department. To date, 109 single-family home rebuilds have been completed, and 12 multifamily units have been completed.
Ms. Bundy continues to personally follow up with and assist homeowners along every step of their process. Anyone who needs help moving their project forward, or needs advice, resources, or help with any aspect of their rebuild is urged to schedule an appointment for one-on-one help with the Rebuild Team, over the phone or in person. To schedule an appointment, visit the appointments webpage or call 310-456-2489. Rebuild Consulting Planner Akash Shah is specifically tasked with making sure that rebuild projects get through the process in a timely and efficient manner, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many rebuild resources, handouts and other information are available on the Rebuild webpage.