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Veronique de Turenne



It's now a week since the the Woolsey Fire jumped the 101 freeway and raced our way. We have power but no cell service or wifi. This post goes up thanks to a kind neighbor. More photos below.

Just a portion of Malibu has been reopened to residents. There's a checkpoint on PCH near Topanga, and only people within a very small area of eastern Malibu are getting in. You need to show a California drivers license and proof of your specific address.

All of the canyon roads, large and small, are closed to all but rescue and repair vehicles, and there are literally hundreds of those here right now. Sheriffs deputies from throughout LA and the surrounding counties are parked in front of all canyon and side streets, pleasant but firm about not letting anyone in.

There's a hard close on northbound PCH traffic at Webb Way, across from the Civic Center. You can get into the Ralphs shopping center, but only the grocery store is open, and for limited hours. They're working with a very small staff, so only a few shoppers at a time are allowed in.

Several of the local restaurants are open and many of them are refusing to accept payment, even when you try to insist. The ATMs here are out of cash, and the gas stations are all closed. During each shift change for the sheriff's deputies stationed here, convoys of police cars race along pch, sirens blaring. It's equal parts alarming and reassuring. At Zuma Beach, the horses and lamas are gone, and the tips of the sand dunes are black with soot.

Here are some photos from last night and again this morning. Today I went super early so as not to get in anyone's way. Scores of homes burned but I couldn't bear to photograph them. Instead, here are some of the wild places and the public places that regular Malibu visitors will know.

A command center has been established at the Chili Cook-off grounds:

fire ommand center in Malibu

Everywhere you go there are convoys of first responders, paramedics and police and sheriffs deputies, fire trucks from throughout the state and throughout the west (this morning I saw LA, OC, Arcadia, Idyllwild, Austin, Texas, Ventura, and many more). Gas and power crews are working at every burned light pole, every gas main. Tanker trucks and bulldozers are heading into the scorched hills.

convoys all along pch

There are thank you notes everywhere:

god bless the first responders

And warnings:


Here's Malibu Seafood -- you can see how close the fires came.

malibu seafood after the fire

That whole canyon was hit hard:

malibu beach rv park

near corral canyon

canyons vaporized

near malibu seafood

This is near the Malibu Playhouse, which looked OK. Couldn't get close enough to be certain:

near the malibu playhouse

Several utilities have set up a command center at Pavilions. The market is closed, but they've set out shopping carts overflowing with staples for anyone in need. They even thought to leave out a pile of grocery bags:

Pavilions donates food

This is near El Matador state beach:


And here's Leo Carrillo, on the land side:

Leo Carillo


And the Leo Carrillo visitors center:

Leo Carillo visitors center

This is near Yerba Buena and Neptunes Net:

power poles near Yerba Buena

It takes a minute to realize that a lot of the power poles are simply gone:

the power pole evaporated

And to the south, a constant:


Next entry: The eastern flank of the fire

More by Veronique de Turenne:
The eastern flank of the fire
The bees
Aching heart
The new wildfire normal
Previous story: The bees

Next story: The eastern flank of the fire

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