The Californian Fires Have Decimated Malibu
Two dead, countless homes destroyed, and a surf community left in tatters.
For three days Malibu has burned. The ongoing tragedy is heartbreaking to watch as it continues to develop in real time.
By Saturday morning the Woolsey Fire had burned over 70,000 acres in L.A. and Ventura counties. From the mountain canyons all the way down to P.C.H., the flames have been inescapable. At least two people have lost their lives and over 150 homes destroyed.
Massive evacuations have taken place. Students at Pepperdine University were forced to hunker down in secure locations on campus. Horses and llamas have been stranded on the beach, tied to lifeguard towers as people attempt to get all of the animals on the ranches and farms to safety.
Highway 101 has reopened in Ventura County, but remains closed in portions of L.A. County.
It is not known what ignited the fire at this time.
With so much chaos and tragedy, it’s with heavy hearts that this disaster has taken a heavy toll on our surf community. A number of our friends and heroes are in the thick of it right now.
“Here are no words to describe my emotions,” wrote Stab friend and photographer Lyon Herron, who’s family has lost everything in the fire. “Everything my mother has worked for was stripped away in a matter of hours. Not just her but our whole family. Today was one I’ll never forget, almost everyone of my friends are in the same situation. Malibu as a community will rebuild together, because that’s what we do. I love my home and am so grateful we are all safe.”
WSL color man Strider Wasilewski has also lost the family home. With things developing so rapidly, they managed to find a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
“My hometown is burning down,” said Frankie Harrer STAY SAFE everyone! I love you my Malibu family. Wish I was there to help.”
Then there was Laird Hamilton’s stand. While the Kardashians and Kanye were evacuating, Laird and his neighbor, Elijah Allan-Blitz, went to war. Pumping water out of his pool, he stayed behind and fought the fire, saving both his and his neighbor’s house.
“Now I know why I learned at an early age not to mess with mother nature,” wrote Laird on Instagram. “There is too much ground to cover for the brave firefighters so many of the members of the community are doing their best. I want to thank my dear friend @elijah_a.b who stayed behind with me and fought the fire at my house and my neighbors. For now he helped me keep the home standing. Most importantly is that the humans are safe.
The video that he posted on Instagram of him exiting PCH just north of Pepperdine is radical.
Surf scribe Jamie Brisick has also been displaced. The fate of his abode unknown, he wrote, “In the end I evacuate Malibu. Land at The Talpa in Santa Monica. Order a taco, guacamole, margarita rocks salt. The radio plays what to me sounds like white noise. Then all falls silent for a bit. Then ‘All the leaves are brown…’”
Another fire burning in Northern California has destroyed over 80 percent of the town of Paradise, near Chico.
These are apocalyptic times we are living in. As I write this my parents are staying with me, they’re victims of the Sonoma County fires last year and lost their home. The impact of these fires is absolutely gut-wrenching.
We’re all in it together…except the President of the United States, he’s just an asshole.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments.” tweeted Donald Trump.
You know, the Malibu forests, right?
Our thoughts go out to all those whose lives have been upturned by the fires throughout the region.
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