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MALIBU www.malibumag.com

MAGAZINE

Collector’s Edition

AFTER THE WOOLSEY FIRE

IN THEIR OWN WORDS 28 people share their personal experiences with the Woolsey Fire. FEBRUARY 2018

$ 5.95 US

SANTA MONICA + BEVERLY HILLS + CALABASAS + WESTLAKE VILLAGE

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LETTER FROM THE EDITORS

Julie Wuellner

Holly Bieler

In light of the Woolsey Fire that swept through Malibu last November and hit our beloved Malibu community harder than any other event in the past, we decided to start out 2019 by pivoting from our regular editorial structure. Hundreds of homes have been lost and thousands of lives have been altered entirely, so we felt that the magazine needed some altering as well. This special collector’s edition is focused entirely on the Woolsey Fire and its aftermath. We start out by taking a look at the various relief efforts and fundraisers that were organized to benefit Woolsey Fire victims. From the One Love festival to Stoke Fest, aimed at getting surfers back out in the water, the community truly has come together like never before. Then we dive right into our 20+ page photo story centered all around November 9. While most people, including ourselves, were evacuated, photographers, Dave Mills, Ray Ford and Brandon Buckley were on the ground capturing unbelievable images of Woolsey sweeping through Malibu. Pilot and photographer, Mark Holtzman captured incredible aerial views for our second photo story, “The View From Above”. These images show a jaw-dropping view of the fire and its aftermath that few people have seen before. At the heart of this issue is our “In Their Own Words” feature. This was an idea that we came up with early on in the process and believe to be one of the strongest and most comprehensive records yet of the Woolsey Fire’s toll. 29 Malibuites bravely share their stories, among them Jefferson ‘Zuma Jay’ Wagner, Malibu’s mayor who was severly injured trying to protect his home, a battle that was ultimately lost. Joshua Crawford, a homeless day laborer tells the story of how he was hired to fight the fire. For three days, Crawford battled the blazes heroically and tirelessly. Rick Mullen, Shane Semler, Dr. Dean Graulich and many others also took the time to share their unique experiences with us. You can find these stories starting on page 66. We round out this issue with various articles taking a look at the history of fires in Malibu and whether the immense destruction Woolsey caused will be the new normal. We also look at how the mountains, marine life and even mountain lions will bounce back, in the string of articles focused on ecology. Finally in our real estate section, we finish out the issue with various articles aimed at helping residents through the rebuilding process. We also got a chance to speak with 10 of Malibu’s most influential agents about how the fire will affect Malibu’s market and what’s to come in 2019. We want to take this opportunity to thank all the firefighters who fought the fire bravely, but mostly to thank the Malibuites who haven’t stopped fighting yet. Whether it be having fought flames, hot spots and embers to protect our beloved neighborhoods, taking the time, energy and financial resources to organize the countless fundraisers and relief efforts that have been going on throughout our city, or simply by choosing to stay and rebuild. We also want to remind everyone impacted that even though it’s a new year, it’s ok to accept the help you need and to take the time to mourn everything that was lost. It will take time and there is still a long road ahead, but we have no doubt that Malibu will rebuild stronger and better than ever before. Here’s to a fantastic 2019!

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Photo by Mark Holtzman

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OTHERWORDLY SCENES

Photo by Mark Holtzman

This charred and barren landscape looks as if it were straight out of a sci-fi movie. In reality this is the view above the Kanan Rd. looking west.

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CONTENTS

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EVENTS WOOLSEY FUNDRAISERS From pop-up stores to musical performances, Malibuites put together a whole host of events to benefit Woolsey Fire victims.

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COMMUNITY MALIBU’S SWEET RELIEF The Woolsey Fire has brought the Malibu community closer than ever before. A look at the various relief efforts throughout town. 40 THE DAY MALIBU BURNED Dave Mills captures this incredible photos

of a home burning near PCH on November 9.

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PHOTO STORY THE DAY MALIBU BURNED Wildfire photographers, Dave Mills, Ray Ford and Brandon Buckley were on the ground to capture Woolsey as it burned through Malibu.

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18 ONE LOVE Gwen Stefani sings at the Malibu One Love festival.

94 ZUMA JAY talks about his incredible experience with Woolsey.

LOCALS THE ONES WHO STAYED While most Malibuites evacuated, dozens of brave men and women stayed behind to battle the apocalyptic flames.

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PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN WORDS 28 Malibuites tell their stories of Woolsey, both how they were affected during the fire and what the aftermath has been like.

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ANALYSIS WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY FIRES? 60 THE POINT DUME BOMBERS A group of Malibu millenials banded together to fight hotspots and put out blazes to save countless homes.

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While fire in Malibu is nothing new, the unparalleled destruction of Woolsey has many residents wondering if this is the new normal.

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CONTENTS

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ECOLOGY LIFE RISING FROM THE ASHES The Santa Monica Mountains were hit hard, but are set to bouce back with a colorful spring, giving life to new plant and animal species.

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MOUNTAIN LIONS THE GREAT SURVIVALIST With 75% of their natural habitat burned, mountain lions must learn to adapt to their new, more barren surroundings.

106 MOUNTAIN LIONS The Santa Mountain’s apex predator lost much of its territory to the flames, now it has to adapt to its new habitat.

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MARINE LIFE DIRTY SURFING After recent rains washed matter from burn areas directly into the ocean, Malibu Magazine investigates possible effects on the marine life.

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104 ECOLOGY The mountains are bouncing back in full force.

135 KATHY ELLIS on the Malibu real estate market.

PHOTO STORY THE VIEW FROM ABOVE We fly along with veteran photographer and pilot, Mark Holtzman to take a look at the devastation Woolsey caused from a new point of view.

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REAL ESTATE 2019 MARKET TRENDS 10 of Malibu’s top agents and brokers answer questions about how the Woolsey Fire will affect Malibu’s real estate market.

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REBUILDING FIRE RESISTANT BUILDING 118 MALIBU PARK One of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Malibu from

above. Incredibly, Malibu High School remained mostly unscathed.

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Afters hundreds of homes burned throughout Malibu, many residents are left wondering, “Can I build a more fire resistant home?”

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FIERY NIGHTMARE ON TAPIA DRIVE

Photo by Dave Mills

On December 9, the Woolsey Fire roared through Malibu, burning the canyons and all the way to the beach. Here a home and motorhome on Tapia Dr. is fully engulfed in flames.

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MASTHEAD

MALIBU www.malibumag.com

MAGAZINE

Collector’s Edition

PUBLISHER

Dirk Manthey EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Julie Wuellner

MANAGING EDITOR

Holly Bieler

AFTER THE WOOLSEY FIRE

ART DIRECTOR

Petra Pflug

ADVERTISING DIRECTOR IN THEIR OWN WORDS 28 survivors tell their personal experiences with the Woolsey Fire. FEBRUARY 2018

$ 5.95 US

Lo McCarran

SALES MANAGER

Makenzie Rasmussen SANTA MONICA + BEVERLY HILLS + CALABASAS + WESTLAKE VILLAGE

SALES LEAD

Michelle Gisler Danny Wang Nathan Hassall Brittney Bednar EDITORS-AT-LARGE

Holly Bieler Barbara Burke Brenna Spalding Malcolm McLellan Chris Penny

Melissa Curtin Paul J. Morra Bruce Silverstein Kaelin Mendez

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Julie Wuellner Ray Ford Jack Platner Mark Holtzman Kaelin Mendez Brandon Buckley Dave Mills Connie Cambardella Brian Goldberg ADVERTISING

advertising@malibumag.com DISTRIBUTION

Disticor Right Way Distribution Malibu Magazine (ISSN1938-9272) published bimonthly by ES Media Service LLC. 23410 Civic Center Way Unit E-8, Malibu, CA 90265. Reproduction without permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publisher and editors are not responsible for unsolicited material, and it will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication subject to Malibu Magazine’s right to edit. POSTMASTER

Send address changes to Malibu Magazine 23410 Civic Center Way Unit E-8, Malibu, CA 90265. Copyright © 2018 by ES Media Services LLC. All rights reserved.

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photos: paul vu

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CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

DAVE MILLS

Dave Mills is a photographer based in Southern California specializing in Wildland Fire and commercial/corporate work. Dave has traveled to remote forests and rangeland locations enduring extreme temperatures and smoke carrying gear needed for safety, sustenance, and to perform the assignments. For the past ten years Dave has covered hundreds of Wildland Fires throughout California.

MARK HOLTZMAN

Mark Holtzman is the pilot and photographer of West Coast Aerial Photography, Inc. His work has been recognized internationally: winning awards in photojournalism competitions (such as World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International), published in well-known periodicals (such as The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated), and have been on display at multiple exhibitions at the Annenberg Space for Photography, where Mark has presented at the Iris Night Lecture Series.

RAY FORD

Ray Ford is an outdoor and wildfire writer and photographer for Noozhawk.com and has covered every major wildfire in the Santa Barbara County area for the past several decades. He is author of “Santa Barbara Wildfires”, a historical account of the major area wildfires from the 1950s through the 1990s as well as three books on area hiking, mountain biking and road riding.

JACK PLATNER

Jack Platner is a Malibu born photographer who now splits his time between Venice and New York. His work has been featured in well known publications such as Vogue. Platner has also toured with band’s such as Irontom and RHCP and assisted both Petra Collins and Daniel Regan.

BRANDON BUCKLEY

Brandon Buckley picked up photography 2 and a half years ago. Since then he has frequently contributed to LAFD public information office and LAFD Grapevine magazine, as well as LAFD Firefighter’s Union. His photos have also been used in numerous arson investigations.

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Love Will Lead Us Home. As a stakeholder in the Calabasas community, our hearts are with our friends and neighbors affected by the Woosley fire. While events in our life can be unexpected and challenging, we wanted to send along a message of hope to take with you into the new year. With love in your heart and family by your side, joy will follow you home no matter where you are. Learn more at NewHomeInspirations.com

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Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. - Emerson

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MALIBUITES

KING GILLETTE RANCH

One Love Malibu On Dec. 2, One Love Malibu hosted a music and food festival and donated 100% of proceeds to Malibu Foundation. The event raised $1 Million for Woolsey Fire recovery and was supported by and held at King Gillette Ranch, Linda Perry and Kerry Brown’s We Are Hear. Complimentary food and drinks were provided by Nick Mathers’ Elephante, Nobu Malibu, Malibu Burger Co., Drx Cupcake with contributions from Gelson’s Market. Musical performances included Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morrisette, Rita Ora, Robin Thicke and Natasha Bedingfield.

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MALIBUITES

ZUMA BEACH

2018 Malibu Stokefest On Saturday, Dec. 1, local surfers came down to Zuma Beach to bring the stoke back to Malibu and restore some normalcy to lives of those impacted by the fire. The goal of the event was to provide Malibu surfers, who had lost everything during the Woolsey Fire, with surfboards, wetsuits and whatever else they needed to get back out in the ocean. Music was put on by DJ Rainbow and volunteer “angels� were available to help guide families and individuals to pick out clothing, wetsuits, surf boards, skate boards and even backpacks and shoes.

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MALIBUITES

MALIBU VILLAGE

15th Annual Malibu Christmas Woodie Parade

State Senator Henry Stern

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On Sunday, Dec 10, Malibu Celebrated the Annual Malibu Christmas Woodie Parade at the Malibu Village. The beloved event was led by Grand Marshal, Elex Michaelson and Honary Grand Marshal State Senator Henry Stern. Malibu Village partnered with the local Boys and Girls club in order to raise money for the Woolsey Fire Emergeny Relief Fund. The Christmas Woodie parade as been a long standing community tradition orchestrated by “The Malibooz” front man, John Zambetti.

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MALIBUITES

TRANCAS COUNTRY MART

Holiday Locals Night On Friday 14, Malibu Beach House, Vintage Grocers, Kristy’s Village Café, and the Trancas Country Market celebrated their Holiday Locals night, which included a pop-up donation center for the families who lost their home in the Woolsey fire. People graciously waited to choose from hundreds of new quality goods such as Barefoot dreams blankets, bedding from John Robshaw, clothing from One Love & Hiptique, as well as jewelry from Dogeared, among many other contributions. Christmas Carolers dressed in vintage attire visited stores like Nati and Starbucks, with Festive Holiday music. Children kept busy at “SweetBu” Candy, decorating Christmas cookies while sipping hot chocolate.

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MALIBUITES

COMMUNITY EFFORTS

Malibu’s Sweet Relief From pop-up stores brimming with donations, to star-studded performances and fundraisers, the community has banded together like never before. ✎ written by Barbara Burke  photographed by Kaelin Mendez

MALIBU STRONG In the weeks following the Woolsey Fire, the malibu community has shown its strength by organizing relief efforts such as the Malibu Recovery Free Store (left) and the Malibu guitar festival (bottom left).

Courtesy of Connie Cambardella

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A

s chaparral-carpeted canyons succumbed to the Woolsey Fire’s unforgiving, raging blazes on November 9, the conflagration barreled over Malibu and adjacent communities, forcing an unprecedented total evacuation of Malibu and ultimately leaving three people dead, landscapes barren and charred, and 1,643 structures destroyed in its wake. The fire was not fully contained until November 21 and the protracted process of fighting the blazes added to the trauma experienced by citizens, many of whom had to wait many painful days to find out whether their homes were destroyed. “There are many tentacles to this calamity’s complications,” Malibuite Pierce Brosnan told Malibu Magazine. “We only have a population of 13,000 citizens, with only 5,000 of them being here full-time and more than 2,000 people who are displaced.” However Malibu, if anything, is a community flush with thought-leaders, doers and creative, talented residents who are one with this community. Even as fires burned, ignited by hot spots and embers, Malibuites rallied and responded. Restaurants throughout the Bu fed firefighters and first responders. Authorities gave D’Amores Pizza permission to stay open. “We thought the situation would only last for a couple of days,” said Joe D’Amore, restaurant owner. “Ultimately, over the 13 days of the fire, I fed 3,500 people - fortunately in the process, I was able to keep employees working when many other employees went without wages.” Caffe Luxe served free coffee, Nobu opened its doors and fed first responders and Malibu Kitchen made sandwiches and served coffee. On the west side of Malibu, where the fire devastated many properties, Kristy’s Restaurant served free food to patrons and Tim Biglow, President of the Malibu West Beach Club Homeowners Association, immediately opened the club, fed approximately 250 people three meals a day and provided them with showering

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MALIBUITES

facilities and, importantly, with a venue to residents who have been displaced by the ting enough sleep and taking care of themgather and support one another, according fire. “The most important thing is to get peo- selves. [This is especially true for] caretakers to Christine Hays, the Club’s Events Man- ple back on their feet,” Brickman said, as her who care for others, such as parents, teachager. “Mr. Biglow was unbelievable in his daughter Nell Brickman, 8, helped her orga- ers, and doctors.” generosity and deserves an award for his nize baby clothes. “The bags of clothes and Malibu’s artistic community also rallied to kindness,” said Jay Robbins, a West Malibu other donations are bags of love, they’re bags support victims by putting on performancresident who stayed behind during the fire. of hope,” Brickman said. “As recipients gath- es, fundraisers and donating their time “Pavilions was wonderful as well and provid- er these donations, it makes [the survivors] and talent. At the One Love Malibu Festival ed residents with ice, food, and batteries.” know that this community deeply cares.” held on December 2 at King Gillette Ranch, As areas of Malibu were slowly re-populatSoon, it became obvious to Brickman that Robin Thicke – whose own Malibu home ed, a shaken community immediately began hugs and supportive words helped those in burned down – joined superstars Katy Perry, to mobilize, responding first by establishing despair and that they needed a quiet room to Gwen Stefani, Rick Springfield, Joe Walsh, donation centers and holding fundraisers, try to gather themselves. Then, she realized and Natasha Bedingfield among others for then by beginning to address the ongoing that licensed therapists could provide even star-studded, stellar performances. One of emotional needs of a town in tumult. more effective support. Enter Madeline Bai- Malibu’s patriarchs, Dick Van Dyke, among The Chabad of Malibu, others provided words of known for its many Malibu love and encouragement mitzvahs, opened a donato victims. Proceeds for the tion center and started a event went to the Malibu helpful website: onewithFoundation and One Love malibu.com. When Malibu Malibu relief organizations. Magazine visited the MaliLocals Matt Diamond, bu Lumber Yard donation Brandon Jenner, and Jesse center, volunteers Neda Bilbauer (Life Rolls On) Soderqvist and Bridgette coordinated with MedMen Fox were organizing clothand sponsored a benefit ing and housewares, asconcert at the Rose Room sisted by Arielle Fox and in Venice on December 9. Sebastian Soderqvist. “Our The Malibu Acoustic Bengoal is to stay open through efit Concert featured artFebruary,” Neda said. “Afists such as Jenner, Bret ter the holidays, people Bollinger of Pepper and will still need support.” Dawn Mitschele of CardiEven as fires continued nal Moon. LENDING A HELPING HAND Catherine Malcolm Brickman and her to besiege Malibu, Tracy The Malibu Guitar Festidaughter, Nell Brickman volunteering at Malibu Recovery Free Store. Park, manager of Toy Craval presented Heal for the zy in Malibu Country Mart, called Stu Mc- ley, one of the counselors who has tirelessly Holidays on December 15. Held at Café EsNelis of Koss Financial Group, manager for donated her time at the Free Store. Bailey is cobar, the event was co-produced by Doug the shopping center. “I thought we need- no stranger to counseling victims of trauma DeLuca (Executive Producer of the Jimmy ed to open a place to collect donated items as she also counseled patients affected by the Kimmel Show) and Malibu Producer Matt and so I posted the idea on Instagram,” Park 9-11 tragedy. “The whole Malibu community Diamond (Electric Native). The festival feasaid. “Catherine Malcolm Brickman was the is currently in trauma and, indeed, for some tured performances by Butch Walker, the first to respond and together, we opened people affected by the fire, the experience Coffee Shop Trio, Brandon Jenner and Cisco the Malibu Recovery Free Store - with Cath- has been so overwhelming that they feel a Adler, among others.. erine, teamwork is dreamwork and since little paralyzed and they cannot even fill out There is no doubt that the Woolsey Fire hit November 26, we have offered a place for the countless forms one needs to submit to the Malibu community hard but one thing is people who have lost everything to get des- request assistance,” Bailey said. “Everybody for sure: the community has come together perately-needed items.” Brickman has man- has their own way of dealing with trauma stronger than it ever has before. “It will take aged the store by day, Park by night, assisted and people need to talk when they’re ready a lot of time, but ultimately, it will be okay.” MM by dedicated volunteers, many of whom are to talk and everyone needs to focus on get- Bailey says.

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TOPIC OF THE MONTH

As the Woolsey Fire made its descent on Malibu on November 9, California wildfire photographers Dave Mills, and Ray Ford of Noozhawk.com, and Brandon Buckley were on the front lines to capture these incredible images of the disastrous events unfolding in our hometown. 30

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November 9th 2018

THE DAY MALIBU

BURNED MALIBU MAGAZINE

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PHOTO STORY

POOLSIDE BLAZE

By 4:30pm on November 9, the Woolsey Fire threatened the entire Malibu coastline. Here a home burns on the east side of PCH, across fom El Matador Beach.

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PHOTO STORY

STANDING GUARD A Trancas Canyon resident stands guard as the fire races toward the Pacific Ocean on November 9.

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PHOTO STORY

HELICOPTER PERFORMS A WATER DROP

Los Angeles County Fire Dept. Helicopter 16 performs a water drop on the first day of the Woolsey Fire, November 8.

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PHOTO STORY

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GIVING IT THEIR ALL

A Los Angeles Fire Dept. Firefighter pulls attack line to defend structures against the Woolsey Fire in a Malibu neighborhood on November 9.

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PHOTO STORY

BEACON OF DESTRUCTION

A home on Pacific Coast Highway is fully consumed by the Woolsey Fire on the evening of November 9.

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FIRE FIGHTING EFFORTS

The Los Angeles County Fire Departmnet battles a structure in Trancas Canyon using the Deck Gun on Engine 72 on November 9.

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PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY AGLOW Smoke fills the sky looking south on Pacific Coast Highway on November 9, the second day of the fire.

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14-MILE WALL OF FLAMES The Woolsey Fire races through the Malibu Equestrian Park behind Malibu High School on November 9. In the next few hours more than a hundred homes burn along Morning View Dr., Philip, Harvester and Cuthbert roads.

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FIGHTING THE FIRE IN TRANCAS

A Los Angeles County Fire Dept. Captain battles the Woolsey Fire November 9 in the backyard of a resident’s home in Trancas Canyon.

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STRIKE TEAMS PREPARE TO STOP THE FLAMES FROM JUMPING PCH Strike teams converge along the 41000 block of PCH to protect homes on both sides of the highway. Here, the Santa Barbara County Fire Crew 1-2 prepare to protect the fire station and keep the fire from crossing the highway.

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NOTHING BUT CHIMNEYS AND GLOWING COALS

In the late afternoon on November 9, a home still smolders on Horizon Dr. In the background other homes are still burning. By this time most of them are reduced to rubble, with only chimneys, burned out cars and glowing coals left behind.

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DIGGING THROUGH THE RUBBLE For many residents, the real work begins now that the fire has come and gone. Residents are faced with the hard task of sifting through the rubble of their homes and decided whether or not to stay and rebuild.

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BURNED OUT SHELLS In the aftermath, it is easy to see how relentless the Woolsey Fire was, consuming hillsides, homes, cars and everything in between and leaving nothing but empty shells of what once was.

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THE THINGS THAT SURVIVED Again and again, residents are amazed to find what the fire left untouched. Like this Point Dume resident, who found this small ceramic vase largely untouched amidst the rubble of his burned out home.

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THE BOMBERS A group of Malibu millenials protected countless homes when they stayed behind to fight the Woolsey fire in a coordinated, group effort.

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RESIDENT FIREFIGHTERS

THE ONES WHO STAYED While most Malibuites were evacuated, dozens of brave men and women stayed behind to fight the flames and protects their neighborhoods. ✎ written by Barbara Burke  photographed by Jack Platner

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n November 9, as the Woolsey and Hill Fires wreaked devastation on Malibu from Point Mugu Park in the West to Malibu Canyon in the east, the City of Malibu put out an urgent, mandatory order: everyone in Malibu needed to evacuate immediately. Having jumped the 101, and fire was now barreling towards Malibu’s most populous areas, and the city had deemed it too unsafe for any Malibuite to remain. And yet, many did. When there were not enough firefighters to fight blazes, brave Malibuites stayed behind. Together they mobilized, fighting treacherous fires, thwarting hotspots before they fully engulfed structures into flames,

spending sleelness nights keeping eyes out for embers. While many displaced by evacuation orders sat helplessly, horrified and panicked, lacking information and increasingly in the throes of giving up hope entirely, of acquiescing to the conflagration’s seeming intent to burn most, if not all, of Malibu, citizen-based groups fought heroically – and often very successfully – to save many structures from burning. This article cannot encompass stories of all the heroes, of all the Malibuites who saved their own homes or those of their evacuated neighbors, or of all the citizens who sent much-needed fuel, food, water and other supplies – by land and sea – in the days after the fire’s first demonic assault on Malibu. Rather, this

piece only provides a sampling of such stories. In the wee hours of November 9, as the fire raced through Kanan and Malibu Canyon after hopping the 101 , Malibu radio KBUU’s Hans Laetz had already hosted a herculean, hours-long broadcast to keep Malibuites informed about the advancing flames. Laetz foretold an ominous outcome. “That the fire has crossed over the 101 is a very bad fact,” he said on air that morning “This could be a very bad fire for Malibu.” In the weeks since, as Malibuites have begun the hard work of rebuilding their homes and community, many maintain that local and regional officials did not handle fighting the fire correctly. “There were not enough firefighters and too

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MALIBU WIDE EFFORTS (Above) A group of Malibuites bring in supplies from boats at Paradise Cove. (Below) The Bombers fight tirelessly to put out hotspots and embers to stop the spread of the fire.

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many sheriffs,” Malibu City Councilperson Lou LaMonte said at a December 4 city council meeting attended by approximately 500 Malibuites, many of whom appeared enraged, demanding answers exasperatedly throughout the night. Numerous community members we spoke with for this story maintain that efforts by evacuated Malibuites and others to send much-needed generators, fuel, water, food and supplies to the locals fighting the fire were unjustly thwarted by law enforcement, which imposed hard stops by land as well as by sea. Adding to this frustration, during the fire and in the days since, is the perception that the damage caused by the Woolsey Fire would be significantly greater if not for these locals’ efforts. To many, these are the heroes of the Woolsey Fire, the reason many people’s homes are still standing. These informal groups, organized hurriedly and scattershot as the fire descended upon Malibu, were made up of neighbors and friends, grandfathers and young adults, acquaintances and lifelong friends. One such group was the Point Dume Bombers, made up of Malibu milennials. “These young men were amazing,” said Linda Gibbs, the mother of bomber Keegan Gibbs. “They never stopped fighting and are still fighting to this day. They’re helping to repair fences for Malibuites who didn’t have insurance.” Point Dume resident Suzy Duff agreed. “The young men who rallied and fought the fires saved many homes,” she said. “Their efforts and accomplishments were phenomenal.” 34 year-old Keegan said that as the fire surged toward Pt. Dume, he and a group of friends quickly rallied to save their community, meeting at the Point Dume home of 28 year-old Leo Harrington to brainstorm an initial plan. “Leo’s house was the initial resource center,” Keegan said. “We gathered generators, food and bottled water and went there to regroup and to communicate. The Point Dume Bombers started with just a few kids who stayed back and kept houses safe, and that community effort spread from there.” To fully comprehend the dev-

astation, one must realize that, as the fire ravaged through canyons and came over the hillsides it was a beast. “It was basically a fire that was fourteen miles long,” State Senator Henry Stern said at an emergency meeting held at Taft High School days after the fire made its first assault on Malibu. “At times, it was ten feet high and it was racing at seventy miles an hour.” Adding to these challenges was the fact that Malibuites were waging the war with no electricity and no cellular service. As the hours and days went on, many even found there was no water available to fight the fires.

“THEY NEVER STOPPED FIGHTING AND ARE STILL FIGHTING TO THIS DAY.” Without electricity, without water, without cellular communication, and without enough fire trucks and personnel, the locals valiantly fought on in a living hell, a classic David-against-Goliath scenario. Increasingly, however, the effort began to gain more and more David’s, and the efforts also became more sophisticated. When Bomber Robert Spangle realized he had a touch of self service at the top of Big Dume, he began directing operations. “[Robert] was able to see fires and he had reception and could facilitate communications between people on the Point, Malibu Park and Ramirez, and even all the way to Decker Canyon,” said Keegan. “Sam McGee joined him and we all started fighting fires.” They were waging the battle of their lives. “After 24 hours, we outgrew Leo’s house and I asked Malibu City Council Member

Skylar Peak if we could establish a resource and rescue center at Pt. Dume Elementary,” Keegan said. “That became something much bigger than just a place of resources – it became a place to quickly cope with devastation by surrounding ourselves with an outpouring of community and love. I’ve never seen this community rally behind each other like this.” Soon Bomber friends Brianna Strange and Helen Henning had joined the cause, with Strange heading the dispersing of desperately-needed gas and generators, and Henning coordinating the distribution of food, snacks and water at the center. All hands were on deck, as all fought tirelessly and doggedly against flames, against hots spots, against exhaustion. They were buoyed by a love of Malibu that many times outlasted and outwitted the beastly blazes. At the same time, just a few streets over on Point Dume , Malibu native Jerry Wolf Duff Sanders joined a group gathered at the compound of his neighbor, real estate agent Chris Cortazzo, including Chris’ brother, Danny Cortazzo, a retired fire chief, to coordinate firefighting efforts. “On Friday night, Chris saved an elderly lady’s house,” Duff Sanders said. “We used pool pumps and laid out lines and were running on generators. There were people on Boniface, on Dume Drive, on Portshead, some standing in the street trying to fight fires and we used water from pools and from Jacuzzis to fight the fires.” As Duff Sanders and others waged their wars, in an amazing journey, Duff Sanders’ girlfriend, Devyn Sisson, battled difficult road conditions to bring desperately-needed supplies and foodstuffs to the Cortazzo compound. “I drove every way possible and encountered many road blocks,” Sisson said. “I wanted to give it a shot. I had to get to Malibu. I had been in Pacific Palisades at first and there it was peaceful and business as usual, while there was an apocalypse in Malibu. I ended up going through Boney Mountain State Wilderness Area and along the Sycamore hiking trail and I hit a paved road, which I assumed was a fire road. I just

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kept driving.” After an hours-long, ardu- mand center in Point Dume, transporting homeowners fought fires single-handedly. ous trek, Sisson arrived on Point Dume and much-needed fuel to citizens. Another Some won their battles. Some didn’t. “The immediately set to doing what she enjoys Malibu resident, Scott Hosfeld, managed fire was amazing and the hot spots kept most – she cooked and cooked and cooked to get back into Malibu with a City of Mali- springing up . . . it was exploding like an and fed hungry firefighters. “I’d wake up bu contingent that included City Manager atomic bomb and making its own weather to find an exhausted firefighter doing the Reva Feldman and actor Pierce Brosnan systems,” said Carla McCloskey of her and dishes,” Sisson said. “I did not realize how and his wife, journalist Keely Shae Bros- her husband Leigh’s struggles to successmuch people really appreciate a hot meal nan. “I spent the next four days putting fully ward off the flames threatening their after two days of only eating Cliff Bars.” out spot fires on Pt. Dume and Malibu Malibu Park home. “It wasn’t until later While Sisson off-roaded to get into Mal- Park,” Hosfeld said. “We were hauling gas, that we realized the dragon that we were ibu to render help, many brought supplies food and supplies and donated generators fighting against.” McCloskey’s Malibu Park by sea, often docking at Paradise Cove Pier. to those who had stayed behind to protect neighborhood would ultimately become “We built a pulley system off the pier,” said our properties.” one of the hardest-hit areas. Paradise Cove resident Mitch Taylor. “That Local restaurants and business estabMalibu City Councilperson and now way, when there was low tide, we could lishments did what they could to help. Mayor Zuma Jay Wagner fought to save his pull the boats up and we could off-load Kristy’s Restaurant at Trancas Country home with every ounce of his strength. He generators.” was seriously injured in the proThere are many other tales of cess and was hospitalized in the heroism. Mikke Pierson, a newintensive care ward due to carly elected City Councilperson, bon monoxide poisoning. Unforrisked his life to travel up Kanan tunately, he lost his valiant battle to feed chickens. “The the poor and the home was consumed in things were dying of thirst,” he flames. Fortunately, he has resaid. “But we got them some wacovered from his injuries (Read ter.” Jefferson ‘Zuma Jay’ Wagner, page Others saved horses, dogs, 94). cats, birds and llamas – someThe Woolsey Fire, the largest in how, some way, they saved them. Southern California’s recorded Wolf Sanders, Keegan Gibbs and history, was a fire like none other. others bravely raced up canyons So too, however, were the valiant to do wellness checks. At one efforts to fight it. point, a volunteer arranged to Now, weeks after the fire, most bring insulin to a diabetic ranch YOUNG FIREFIGHTERS Brian Goldberg takes his sons Malibuites are focusing on trying hand who continued on fighting out to fight flames and put out embers in Malibu West. to remediate properties that were fires on Decker Canyon. only smoke-damaged or trying to “Steve Moak, an old Malibuite, is a wild- Mart allowed residents to come in and get rebuild structures that were totally lost. fire hot shot who was dropped into wild- food. Surfrider Hotel opened its doors However, some Malibuites must rebuild fires to put out hotspots,” Keegan said. and housed evacuees and hosted a BBQ on without any help because they did not “When he was off duty, he saved multiple November 24 for those affected by the fire have insurance and locals are stepping up homes in Malibu and gave us basic train- to help lift spirits and raise money to do- to help them rebuild. ing and was a default tutor to us to show nate to the Malibu Boys & Girls Club. The “With the help of a non-profit named Help us how to battle hotspots as well as how to event featured live music, tacos, BBQ, raf- California that was started in response use chainsaws to cut down trees that were fles, a flower stand. Nobu, headed by head to a fire last year, some of us are workhollowed out due to the fire,” chef Gregario Stephenson, opened up ing to help build fences and replace lost Rambla Pacifica resident Brian Goldberg their freezers and began putting together structures,” Keegan said. “Bonnie Decker took his three sons – Dylan Haw, Wyatt hot meals for first responders. – whose dad built Decker Canyon – lost a Lightning and Luke Skyler –out to fight the Bill Miller of Malibu Kitchen told Malibu water tank and stables and corrals so we flames in Malibu West. Brave little men – Magazine about a similar event. “Nobu’s are up there helping to rebuild those.” Malibu’s next generation – helped to fight chef, Gregario Stephenson, opened the The grit, tenacity and resilience disagainst the inferno. Bluewater Dr. resident freezers at Nobu and fed firefighters huge played by those who valiantly and relentBarry Walker deployed a large convert- meals,” Miller said. “It was a wonderful lessly battled the blazes is now focusing on ed LAX flight crew transport bus he has thing to see the first responders [eat] great rebuilding the beautiful Bu, stronger and MM had for years and helped set up the com- meals after the sun went down.” Many more fire-resistant than ever.

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MICHAEL LANSBURY

JEFF JAMPOL

“There was so much tragedy, and danger. But we had some good times too.”

“When there’s an opportunity to be of service, why wouldn’t you?”

CHRIS PENNY

“Entropiano was one of us. When she survived, we knew we had to take her.”

HANS LAETZ

“We knew that was it. On air we said, ‘The fire’s going to be in Trancas by noon.’” PAUL J. MORRA

“So many more homes could have been saved.”

MACE CAMHE

“I held up a flashlight to check the air, and the ash looked like a snowstorm.”

JOSHUA CRAWFORD

“As we drove to the house, he told us our lives were on the line.” MELISSA CURTIN

“There was no way out.” ANGIE GROVE

“We just sat on the sand dunes, and watched as Point Dume caught fire.”

DR. DEAN GRAULICH

“You never think it’s going to be your house.” THE GERBERS

“Yes, Malibu is strong and yes, it will rebuild. But we need time to grieve.”

LAWRENCE WHALEN

“I looked at my Apple watch. It said I had run 60 miles while fighting the fire.”

WILFREDO BARRERA

“I felt like I had to do something in the moment when people needed it.”

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SHANE SEMLER

“We’d just crossed the border when we started getting calls.”

REBECCA HACKETT

“The only thing I could figure out to do was keep driving. So that’s what I did.”

MARYBETH MASSET

“I felt that Java had survived somehow. Or at least I kept the hope alive in my heart.”

KAELIN MENDEZ

“It was fun until it wasn’t.” COMMUNITY MEMBERS

IN THEIR OWN WORDS The most destructive fire to hit Malibu in it’s modern history, Woolsey changed thousands of lives in our community in an instant. Here are some of those stories.  photographed by Julie Wuellner

“ZUMA JAY” WAGNER

“I was in full firefighting gear, and hooked up to a hydrant. I did everything right.” RICK MULLEN

“I knew people on the outside wanted back in. I understood their frustration” GEORGE & SUE POPTSIS

“I hit my hoe through a pile of bricks. And as they fell over, I saw this little box.”

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

RICK MULLEN

“I knew people on the outside wanted back in. I understood their frustration.” As both the Mayor of Malibu and an LA County Fire Captain when Woolsey broke out, Rick Mullen worked throughout the fire both on the front-lines and with city hall.

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uring the Woolsey Fire and in the weeks after, I was dual-hatted as the Mayor of Malibu and as an LA County Fire Captain. On the morning of the fire I was responsible for directing the helicopter to rescue the three people and two dogs atop Castro Peak. I knew the people who lived at the top and communicated with them by phone to stay put and await the helicopter. The fact that we knew each other and had each other’s phone numbers saved their lives. I also directed some 34 individuals about to leave the Campus Kilpatrick Juvenile detention facility on Encinal to shelter in place, which I did with them, instead of convoying out at the wrong time, which they were about to do when I arrived. The facility was the safest place in my Fire Station’s district as the giant fire swept past us on both sides. That giant smoke cloud that everyone saw from Zuma Beach was my 20-square mile heavy brush district being vaporized by the incinerating fire that did kill two individuals caught out in the open in their car. Later in the day I was in Malibu West and did structure protection work that stopped burning houses from catching more houses on fire. The entire length of Trancas road, which is on an incline, was at risk. At one point Scott Hubbel, a

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local resident, came and alerted me to a bad situation which we were able, with a lot of effort, to keep relatively small, and prevent the entire row of houses going up. These were the kinds of efforts going on all over Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains by individuals and first responders working to minimize the damage to this fast-moving monstrous fire which dwarfed the previous Malibu-only fires in scale. It was gargantuan in scale compared to the ’93 or the ’07 fires. At the end of that day, we had saved 35 lives and many in Malibu West. But it did not seem like we had done enough. Although I was at work in the Fire Department for most of the next month, I worked closely with the City Manager Reva Feldman by phone. We were trying to get residents who had evacuated back in to their neighborhoods as early as the day after the fire. I knew that people on the outside wanted back in and would get angrier as time went on. I understood their frustration. Those who decided to stay and defend their homes were very successful for the most part. Even in the dangerous areas of the Santa Monica Mountains, those with a plan, resources and an understanding of the dangers did well. My son saved our home with two of his friends by using a plan we had developed over many years. As public safety professionals and City leaders we will always recommend

that people err on the side of caution and evacuate. The priorities are life, property and environment in that order, with life being way out in front of the other two. When you evacuate, you save your life and may put your house at risk. When you stay, you put your life at risk to increase the chances your house will survive. This is a serious risk management decision and should only be done by the well-informed and well-prepared. A disaster is something that can severely test the limits of the capabilities of the Public Safety agencies. The City’s evacuation notification system was something that we had worked on to get people to sign up for and it was evaluated through drills where notices went out and were acknowledged. The traffic jam on PCH was the result of all the evacuees heeding the order from the City and Public Safety agencies. The flow of traffic could have been a lot better and CHP and the County Sheriff’s Department have acknowledged that improvements can be made. It wasn’t pretty, but it was ultimately effective in achieving our number one priority: saving lives. That is true of many things during the fire and the weeks after – some things went well, somethings can be improved upon. As a City, we are dedicated to improving and learning from all aspects of this disaster which was the largest fire in Los Angeles County history. MM

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RICK MULLEN A 20-year Malibu resident, Rick Mullen is a captain of Fire Station 72 in Decker Canyon and current Council Member on the Malibu City Council.

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BRUCE SILVERSTEIN

“I didn’t want to leave.” When Bruce Silverstein and his wife Mindy’s home was spared during Woolsey, he began volunteering at a clothing drive to help Malibu.

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ike many other residents, my wife Mindy and I evacuated. I didn’t want to leave but Mindy was too panicked to stay, so I agreed to evacuate. We ended up in hotel in Hollywood, where we stayed for the next six days, along with many other “refugees” from Malibu and their various pets. The first 24 hours following the evacuation where the most difficult. During that time, I received text after text about different friends who lost everything. The

morning after the evacuation ended, I began volunteering at a local church where clothing had been collected for members of the community whose homes had burned. Since then I have been volunteering just about every day at another relief center that opened at the Country Mart. I have also spent a fair amount of time on social media, posting messages that I am hoping may have some helpful impact on the relief, recovery and rebuilding effort. Volunteering at the relief center is as much a matter of holding people’s hands, letting someone cry on

my shoulder, and listening to people talk about their experience with the fire and their trauma. It also involved a compassionate effort to make sure people are comfortable receiving the aid available to them. We live in a community of proud people, who are accustomed to “giving” and are very uncomfortable “receiving”. If there is a silver lining it is that the community is coming together like never before. I am hopeful that we may one day be able to look back at the fire as a catalyst for positive change, and not as a force of MM destruction.

MELISSA CURTIN

“There was no way out.” An 11-year LA resident, Melissa Curtin knew to pay attention to the Santa Anas. However, she never expected what would transpire.

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fter 11 years living in LA, I know to pay attention to the Santa Anas. But I never expected the fires to make their way to Malibu. The evacuation text came in around 9:20 a.m. My husband and I live on the hill just across from Carbon Beach and he had been through this several times. At 9:30 a.m., we hopped on to bikes with our neighbors and made our way down to Cross Creek Plaza. We watched as planes

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circled the mountains, dropping red retardant. We saw 4 fire trucks drive by. We wouldn’t see any others that day. When we arrived back at the house, things became tense. Only then did I realize that my husband didn’t want to leave, and why: there was no way out. Traffic was at a dead stop on PCH. I contemplated lugging our paddleboards across the street in case we had no other options but to paddle out. By 2 p.m. I was prepared to leave without him. At the last second, he relented. Minutes later, my car joined the thousands of oth-

ers in the traffic jam on PCH. All around me were the frightened eyes of animals – goats, horses – they looked as terrified as I felt, packed in their mini trailers. In Santa Monica, my husband and I were so sick and stressed we didn’t sleep for a week, only finding current information on the Malibu Locals Facebook group. After the fire, I helped my neighbor set up the Malibu Recovery Project “Free Store”. All around me I’ve seen people helping one another, and like the quote, “The love in MM the air is thicker than the smoke.”

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DR. DEAN GRAULICH

“You never think it’s going to be your house.” Dr. Graulich owns and operates Malibu Coast Animal Hospital. His family’s Malibu Park home was lost in the fire.

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hen we got the evacuation notice that Friday morning, my wife Dana and I reaked out about our animal hospital first. We sent our kids to our place in Lake Arrowhead with their grandmother, and then Dana headed down to the hospital. I stayed at our house and packed up in case we had to evacuate the hospital. My car was filled with dog crates. We also got out all our documents and our passports, a lot of pictures. We had a plan. But I didn’t think my house was going to burn. You never think it’s going to be your house. I wish now I had had a list of things in order of what’s important. When I think about it afterwards, I had some great memorabilia, things people have given me over time. But I guess that’s not as important. One thing that was important: Daisy. Daisy is our 80-pound pig. After I’d finished packing everything up, I loaded her into the back of the car. As I drove away from our home, fire was behind me. At the hospital we followed our plan, and were able to evacuate all our animals. The healthier ones were sent home, the others to sister hospitals. As we were finishing up evacuations, a woman drove up with her pig, Bubblegum. She said no kennel in town would take her. So we did. After all the animals had been evacuated, Dana headed up to Lake Arrowhead. But I decided I was going to stay at the hospital. If fire was coming, I had to fight it. Soon it was just me, our administrator, and the pigs. That night, the pigs fell in love. They’re both females, so at first we kept them separated. Female pigs can often fight. But eventually we were like, let’s just see what happens? Immediately Daisy

DR. DEAN Along with his wife, Dr. Dana DePerno, Dr. Dean opened the Malibu Coast Animal Hospital next to the Malibu Village in 2004.

and Bubblegum were in love. On top of each other. Instant buddies. And by 11 p.m., as the fire above Pepperdine started to die down, you could tell that everything was going to be OK on our side. The next morning, though, a sheriff friend called me in Lake Arrowhead and said our house was gone. He’s a wise-ass, and at first I thought he was joking. But he wasn’t. Both houses on each side of ours were OK. But ours had burned to ground. The community has been so nice. People have given us clothes, brought us dinner every night. It’s been amazing. We found a place to rent on Big Rock, and we love the neighborhood. I think it’s just different experiences for different people. For some people it’s really devastating. With the loss they’ll never be the same. Whereas for us, we’re kind of able to make this into a positive. Our insurance has been good, and we’re already looking for an architect to rebuild on our old property. We’re going to build our dream home. Until then, Daisy is staying at a beautiful farm not far from us. There’s plenty of space to roam, and she loves it. Bubblegum went MM with her.

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CHRIS PENNY Along with his wife, Annemarie, Chris Penny has lived in Malibu for years. Their home near El Matador was a cherished gathering place for friends.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

CHRIS PENNY

“When Entropiano survived the fire, we had to take her with us.” When he arrived at the location of his El Matador “Dream House”, Chris Penny found only rubble. Then, in the garden, he spotted a miracle: Entropiano, totally unscathed.

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was in the evacuation traffic jam from Malibu for more than four hours when my wife Annemarie called. Friends were watching our home burn on the news. One of them even got a screen grab, which immediately started showing up in my friends’ Twitter and Facebook feeds. For the next hour my phone blew up as they all tagged me in their posts, talking about this wonderful place that was now gone. The house was getting its 15 minutes of fame. We lived on three acres near El Matador Beach, just above PCH with a pool, Jacuzzi and 180-degree ocean views. We called it the “Malibu Dream House” and threw lots of parties there. Every Labor Day we hosted a gathering for our Burning Man friends who were in LA instead of at Burning Man. We called that gathering “MaliBurn,” and pretty much all of our friends saw the irony in losing the MaliBurn location to fire. We could not get to the house for a while. Roads closed. Power lines down. Fires flaring up here and there. After 10 days we were able to get in. Devastation was expected, but still a gut punch. The house had imploded and fallen in on itself. Huge steel girders were bent in half. Sheets of stucco were folded like blankets dropped from a balcony. The ground around the house was

ENTROPIANO The piano has followed the Pennies to their new home.

LEVELED Entropiano survived Woolsey’s perilous flames.

black. But up in the garden sat Entropiano, completely unharmed. We got Entropiano around six years ago. A friend of a friend was giving away a baby grand piano. We decided to put it

in the garden. We figured entropy would take her sooner or later and then she would become a planter. But she resisted entropy and was still going strong with the occasional tuning. Annemarie taught herself to play on Entropiano. At parties, musical friends would be up there playing for hours. Artist friends painted and repainted Entropiano, always a work in progress. She was one of us. Like us, she was a survivor. So when she survived the fire we knew we had to take her with us. We had just purchased land in Topanga and were in the permitting process to build a house. We knew Entropiano had to go there. Pianos are hard to move - unless you have a crane. We’ve used Tino Alvarez Crane in the past and made a date to bring him back. As she was lifted onto the back of the boom truck, I imagined Entropiano yelling, “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I’m flying!!” We settled Entropiano down in Topanga, making sure she had a nice view. She used to be under a dome and I forgot that she would be out in the rain, so I drove out from Studio City, where we are living now, to cover her with a tarp. We won’t see her as often while the new house is being built, but we will play her when we are there. And when the house is done, Entropiano will be the centerpiece of our new garden. MM

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JEFF JAMPOL Jampol is the president of music management company Jam Inc.

MACE CAMHE Camhe is a co-founder of Outfit Media Group.

JEFF JAMPOL & MACE CAMHE

“When there’s an opportunity to be of service, why wouldn’t you?” When Malibu residents couldn’t get back home to retrieve items or bring in aid, Jeff Jampol, Mace Camhe and Mojo Risin’ came to the rescue. As told to Malibu Magazine

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EFF: That Sunday, I’d told my friend Steve McKeever I’d take him into Malibu so he could get to his house. No one was being let in. I was on my way with Mace and our friend Kaj Larsen, when we thought: as long as we’re doing this, let’s just see if anyone else needs help. So I put up the post on my social media, and didn’t think much more about it. MACE: Basically I gave the first dozen people who called directions to our skip. But the deal was, everyone had to be back in an hour. If we left anyone, that would only create more problems for emergency services, which was the last thing we wanted to do. JEFF: When we got to the marina there there was a mix of people—a doctor, a retired sheriff’s deputy. One guy was bring-

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MOJO RISIN’ Jampol’s yacht measures 75 feet.

ing oxygen tanks in. As we approached Malibu the sun was setting and conditions were nice. Then around Latigo the wind picked up. Soon we could see flames at Zuma. MACE: There was limited visibility. I held up a flashlight to check the air, and

the ash made it look like we were in a snowstorm. When we got to Paradise Cove, Kaj and I put people on blow-up paddle boards, then paddled each individually to shore. JEFF: Little Pollyannas, we were like: we’re going to get up and back before sunset. We didn’t actually end up leaving until 1 a.m. But everyone came back. MACE: That week I got hundreds of calls a day. I ended up running my boat out to Malibu until that Friday, bringing supplies, checking on people’s homes. JEFF: The thing for us is that we’re lovers of Malibu. I’ve been coming out here for 30 years. Mace surfs here. We’re out there every weekend. And it’s so beautiful, it’s given us so much. So when there’s an opportunity to give back and be of service, MM why wouldn’t you? That was it.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

KAELIN MENDEZ

“My parents said they were glad I was home. I was too.” Pepperdine sophomore, Kaelin Mendez was one of hundreds of students who sheltered in place.

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t was fun until it wasn’t. That’s what I told people who asked me how it was to shelter-in-place on Friday, November 9th. On Thursday night, I attended a worship service that honored Alaina Housley, a Pepperdine freshman who died in the Borderline shooting, and the other Borderline victims. While there, my roommate called me to let me know that there was a possibility we would have to shelter in place soon. He told me to prepare a bag and just be ready. I put aside my laptop, camera and a few changes of clothes that I could grab if we did need to go to the gym like we were supposed to in shelter-in-place situations. I woke up at seven on Friday morning to my friend banging on our door, telling us that Malibu had started to evacuate, so we should probably get ready to shelter-in-place, too. Minutes later, one of our dorm building’s resident advisors came in to tell us that shelter-in-place was enacted, and we needed to head to the gym. Overall, it was fun. For most of the day, I was surrounded with friends and the Pepperdine and Malibu communities. Although power was limited, we found ways to entertain ourselves. Young children ran around, students played games and laughed, and no one really worried. We were assured that the buildings we were in could withstand the fire and, due to the traffic on Pacific Coast Highway, campus was the safest place to be. Later that night, I was to be one of those people that left campus. In the afternoon, we got a message that the shelter-in-place had been lifted, so I went back to my dorm to shower. One of my friends picked me up in her car and took me to our campus newsroom so I wouldn’t have to walk with the air quality being what it was at that time. I had left many of my chargers in the newsroom from the day before when the newspaper staff was covering the Borderline shooting. My friend dropped me back off at my dorm, and we found out that the shelter-in-place was re-enacted. She

said that her car was running low on gas and asked if I could pick her up from her dorm later since we had to meet up with the other newspaper staff members that were covering the fire. We found out the next morning that her car had burned during the night. The makeshift newspaper staff—two writers and one of our advisors—had set up a workspace in a hallway above the Waves Café, our school’s cafeteria. There were also a few off-campus editors that were still active, as well as the friend I drove—an on-camera reporter—and me—a photographer. We later moved to an office in the Office of Accessibility. As Jeff Baker, a professor at Pepperdine, tweeted, we had set up a “guerilla newsroom.” It wasn’t until the smoke could be smelled in the buildings that the seriousness of the whole situation set in. I knew that even if we were safe from the flames, I would be breathing in smoke all night long, so it was best to leave. I heard later that people had to sleep with masks on. I ended up leaving twenty minutes or so before the first flames were seen over the hills. After I made it home to Cerritos, I stepped out of my car and just breathed in the air. My parents MM said they were glad I was home. I was, too.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

ANGIE GROVE

“It was too windy to ride, so I just said, ‘Alright girls. You’re alive. I’ll see you tomorrow.’” Dressage trainer, Angie Grove sat with her horses on Zuma Beach for 19 hours as Malibu erupted into flames around her. As told to Malibu Magazine

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n Thursday afternoon I drove up to White Cloud Ranch, on Kanan, to see my horses Saki and Sundance. I’d just moved in there. But by the time I got up there it was too windy to take them out, so I just said, ‘Alright girls. You’re alive. I’ll see you tomorrow.’ But as I was driving down Kanan I could see the plume of smoke from Woolsey beginning, right next to plumes from the Hill Fire. I called a couple other trainers but they were like, “Just relax. It’s far.” But later that night, the owners of Brookview Ranch called me, where I have a training barn. They were anxious about Woolsey and we decided it would best to just evacuate that night. So we spent the night moving horses to Pierce College, loading up tack into my car. I ended up with $100,000 worth of saddles. The whole time there was this feeling like, okay, we’re doing all this just to come back tomorrow. But once you start the process, no one wants to be the person that’s like ‘Eh, I’m over it. Never mind.’ I got home to Woodland Hills at 4 a.m. and just passed out. I slept for an hour, and when I woke up, my phone was

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SAKI AND SUNDANCE Angie’s horses were at White Gloud Ranch.

blowing up. Everyone said, ‘It’s coming.’ I was frantic. I threw on my clothes from the night before, jumped in the car and started heading to White Cloud to get Saki and Sundance. I was on the phone with a students’ mother, Lisa Thomas, who had already gotten there with her trailer. She said she was taking them and going. But I still wanted to get to White Cloud. It took me a while on side roads, but I finally got to Kanan. Really carefully, I started driving up. It was a fiery inferno. I thought, I don’t know if I can do this. I kept stopping and starting. But finally, I decided I had to leave. When I got to PCH I still couldn’t get in touch with Lisa, but another client, Marty, got through to me. She told me she

was at Zuma Beach with her animals: five horses and eleven dogs. I headed down there and when I finally found Marty, a woman I’d never met walked up to me with Saki and Sundance. She told me Lisa’s trailer had lost its breaks in a tunnel on Kanan, and this woman had taken all her horses into her trailer. So now, Marty and I had eight horses. Throughout the day we kept getting pushed farther down Zuma. Throughout the day, people kept calling, saying they were bringing us trailers. But then they couldn’t get through, or they said they had to go elsewhere. It got later, and later. We were all on 0 sleep, but didn’t sleep. We just sat on the sand dunes, and watched as Point Dume started to catch fire. Finally, around 4 a.m., Chad Atkins with Paw Works got through with a few trailers. We were able to get all our horses and a few strays to the Ventura Humane Society in Ojai. When I finally got to my boyfriend’s house on Saturday afternoon, I slept for a day straight. Like I had the flu. He would just come bring me food, but I couldn’t get up. When I finally did, I found out White Cloud had been destroyed. Everything I had there was gone. MM

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ANGIE GROVE Grove has been a trainer in Malibu for years. The Thursday before the fire began, she spent much of the night moving her clients’ horses.

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LAWRENCE WHALEN

“I would just see orange” Lawrence Whalen fought flames for hours to save his West Malibu home. Looking at his Apple watch afterwards, it said he’d run sixty miles.

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ut of nowhere huge flames came straight down the hill towards our house, taking out everything in sight. We immediately started to do what we could to prepare to fight the fire to save our house and our neighbors, grabbing shovels and connecting hoses. Our neighbors’ entire deck caught light as well as the trees. It turned into a full on mission of doing what we could to save our home and our

neighbors. We had to connect hoses from our neighbors to get enough water pressure. The pine trees were catching on fire and we had no water pressure so I was climbing trees to try and get the flames out. Our neighbor’s storage unit caught fire, which was full of old newspaper and furniture. We ended up having to connect hoses over 100 ft. as flames were coming up on the left side and right side of the house. We were able to get the container under control, using shovels to put out ashes that were falling on the house, but

everything was still lightly smoking here and there. When we thought we had control, the neighbors roof caught on fire and we had no water pressure at all. We were grabbing buckets of water to try and put out the fires. I looked to my Apple watch at one point and it said I had covered sixty miles running up and down the hill while fighting the fire. We were fighting the fire until two in the morning. When I closed my eyes to try to go to sleep, I would just see orange. It was a really strange experiMM ence.

MARYBETH MASSETT

“I kept hope alive.” For three weeks, Marybeth Massett left food and water out for her cat, Java, at her burned out home. Miraculously, one night he returned.

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felt that Java had survived somehow. Or at least I kept the hope alive in my heart. And every few days I’d make it back to Harvester rd. and replenish the food and water and call for him. He never came. Then I realized that I hadn’t gone up to the house at night. It was our routine, I’d call for him to come in every night for the last 11 years. “Come and get your dinner!” And he knew he needed to come inside as the wild packs of coyotes would howl through the neighborhood. So I drove up there at night with my sweet sister Barbara. It was different seeing my

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burned out home at night. Over the last three weeks I’ve seen it many times and I’ve gotten used to what it looks like during the day. But it was dark and the silhouette our beautiful home cast laying on its side gave me pause. Home is where your heart is. I’ve really learned this the last few weeks. Where your family is. And Java is my family. I was putting my boots on I started calling for Java. ‘Come and get your dinner! Java!’ and then we heard a little meow! My sister and I looked at each other like ‘oh my god this can’t be real!’ I called again and sure enough he answered ‘meow

meow meow!’ I held the lantern up in front of me and crossed over to the back of the property and that’s when I saw him - my beautiful Java! He was coming down the stairs towards me just like he had for the last 11 years coming to get his dinner. He was dirty and beautiful! And I held him tight, he started purring and I told him that everything was ok and we were going to our new house. I brought him in my car with my sister and he sat on my lap and we laughed and cried and it was the most sacred sweet thing I have experienced in many many years. My family is together now. We are all ok. MM

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WILFREDO BARRERA

“I felt like I had to do something when people needed it.” Facing no electricity and stringent roadblocks, Tramonto owner Wilfredo Barerra worked tirelessly to feed the community. As told to Malibu Magazine

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round 8 a.m. on Friday morning one of my relatives called, asking what was going on in Malibu. I had no clue what he was talking about. Then I turned on the TV: FIRE. I made a few phone WILFREDO BARRERA Barrera began his career in Malibu calls, but no one knew anything. Everyone was decades ago at the Sage Room. scrambling. Eventually I decided I would just go to the restaurant, but when I called a friend on the Sheriff’s Department he dissuaded me. “There’s nothing to do,” he said. “Don’t even try.” So that first day, I did nothing. I stayed home, watched the news, checked Facebook and Instathrough, and soon we were back in Tramonto. It was a wonderful gram trying to see what was going on. No one knew where the feeling. fire was. Employees kept calling, asking what was going on, and Immediately we started to clean the restaurant, throw away I just didn’t know. I was scared. Tramonto is everything to me. everything that looked suspicious, look through the ingredients Although it’s only been open for two years, it took me 26 years to that were still good: mixed greens, broccoli, pasta. So we had salmake it happen. This is my American ad, pasta and pizza. First we made little deliveries dream. To lose the business after two to the two checkpoints. Then I called my friend years, when we’ve been doing great, at the fire station, and let him know we were that’s really scary. That’s everything open for anyone to eat for free. We put out a sign, we have—not just me, but the employ‘Tramonto open, eat for free’, something like ees and their families. that. Little by little people started to come. Then The next morning I decided I needwe got really busy. It was like that all day and at ed to see what was going on. I drove the same time we were making deliveries to peoto the checkpoint at Sunset Blvd. and ple that needed it, like at Pepperdine. By 9 p.m. PCH, but the officers immediately we were so tired. But it felt wonderful. turned me away. The same happened The next morning me and the guys met at the on Sunday and Monday morning. But Sunset Blvd. checkpoint at 9 a.m. again, with two I knew I had to do something. I’d been FIRST RESPONDERS Barrera offered cars full of food. Again we were denied entrance, reading on Instagram and Facebook free meals to the Malibu community. at both checkpoints, but we eventually found an people saying they didn’t have any officer who let us through. We did the same thing more food. A friend who stayed behind had let me know that again that day, serving a packed crowd, and the day after. Each Tramonto had thankfully been sparred, and I knew we had plenday we probably fed 200 people. First responders, residents. ty of food there.So Monday night, I called a few of the boys. We We had multiple residents ask if they could cover the cost of met at the Sunset checkpoint at 9 a.m. If we had to, the plan was all the meals we were serving that day. It was a beautiful thing. I to walk to the restaurant. We all wore tennis shoes just in case. It said thank you so much for that, but this is Tramonto’s deal. I love MM took a lot of convincing, but we eventually found officers to let us Malibu. Everything I am now, Malibu made me.

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HANS LAETZ Laetz runs KBUU-99.1, Malibu’s only local radio station from his home in Western Malibu.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

HANS LAETZ

“We knew this was it. On air we said, ‘The fire’s going to be in Trancas by noon.’” The general manager of KBUU-99.1 FM, Hans Laetz was reporting live on air when he received orders to evacuate his Trancas home immediately. As told to Malibu Magazine

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hen the fire started that Thursday night, I’d been on the air since 5 a.m. The Borderline shootings had taken place the night before, then Woolsey had broken out around 2 p.m., then an hour later, the Hill Fire had erupted. At 8:08 p.m., I got a call from my colleague, Scott Tallel. He was about to start a screening for the Malibu Film Society, but the Woolsey Fire was giving him pause. “Should I just tell people to go home?” he asked. I focused on what I was watching on TV, thought about it for 10 seconds, then said, “Not only should they go home, but we should be on the air right now.” So we did. 10 minutes later, at 8:18 p.m., we went live. I run KBUU out of my house, and headed to my office studio to start gathering news; listening to the radio, watching where the TV helicopters were going, determining what we would tell Malibu. The 101 was our focus. We knew that if it crossed the 101, we were dead. I sent our street reporter, Lara London Espinosa, to Agoura to monitor it, and she started phoning in reports live. ‘The fire hasn’t crossed the 101 yet.’ Or, ‘The fire’s getting closer to the 101.’ At the same time, my wife Diane and I started preparing to evacuate. We got the pets ready to go, and began filling up our cars with photos, medicine, necessary

things. In the studio we have an automation system which allows me to do a live report, then loop it. So that’s what we’d do. I would record something, then run down the hall and ask Diane if she needed help moving anything, then help her move a file cabinet, or something, to the car, then run back to the studio and start recording live again. At 4 a.m., after being on air for 23 hours straight, I needed a nap. I said, ‘This is where we are at 4, I’ll be back at 5,’ and looped it. When I came back at 5 a.m., it was just ghastly. I could see what was happening. Scott had joined me to co-anchor by then, and 15 minutes later, at 5:15 a.m., we watched as the fire jumped the 101 at Liberty Canyon. Then we knew that was it. On air we said, ‘The fire’s going to be in Trancas by noon.’ At around 6:20 a.m., LA County put out a confusing evacuation order that somehow didn’t include Malibu. So we got Reva Feldman, the Malibu City Manager, on the air, and asked her what was happening. “That’s it,” she said. “We’re evacuating. Everyone’s got to get out of Malibu now.” That meant KBUU needed to evacuate too. The question in my mind has always been: do we stay on the air until the bitter end, or do we start saving the equipment so we can broadcast after the fire? I’d never had to actually make that call before. Only in my mind. We made the decision that the the station was going to have to be

on the air afterwards. So at 7:30 a.m., I signed off. ‘We’re gone,’ I said. ‘We’re going to Zuma beach. You’ve got to get out.’ Scott and I started unplugging the radio equipment and just throwing shit into boxes; all these wires, connectors, amplifiers. At 8:30 a.m. I headed down to Zuma beach, where Diane had evacuated earlier with our pets. I found her and gave her a big hug. From the beach we watched as a cyclone of fire hit the hill above Malibu High. We saw houses just explode one by one. Boom, boom, boom. After the firestorm passed, I made my way to our street. It was a mess, fire was everywhere. But all 6 houses on my culde-sac were still standing. Along with a couple other neighbors, I started defending them; hosing down fires, stomping out embers. We stayed until that Sunday, and ultimately all the homes survived. Getting the radio back up has been awful. It took us 3 weeks just to put the studio back together, and 8 days before we could put the signal back on. Our transmitter, in the hills behind Paradise Cove, was sparred, but the electrical wires which power it were destroyed, and we don’t expect they’ll be operating soon. So for now, we have the transmitter on generators. Two times a day we have to make the trek up the mountain to fill them with gas. That’s been exhausting. I still love it though. I really love it. MM

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BRIANNA SACHS

“I squeezed her hand and told her I understood. I did.” As a Buzzfeed News reporter, Brianna Sachs had covered fire extensively. When Woolsey hit, the tables suddenly turned.

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anging my fist down on the table, I screamed at the top of my four-year-old lungs with such piercing force that my arguing parents and sobbing little brother fell silent. Outside, blue police lights kept whirring in the dark, smoke-choked sky as officers bellowed at us to evacuate. My parents were fighting because my dad insisted that he was going to stay behind, perched on our wood-shingled roof with a garden hose. “We need to leave!” I wailed, glancing at the impending orange glow that would, years later, continue to call on and captivate me. And we did, my dad a lone silhouette on the ash-dusted roof as we bumped along in a train of our neighbors, their car windows filled with bobbing heads, pets, and possessions. Our wooden house miraculously survived that dry, red-tinted night in 1993, just like it did in 1996 and 2007. In the past year, I have covered five of California’s catastrophic, record-breaking wildfires. I have taken many anxious, exhausted people back to the remains of their home, helped them sift through the warm, chalky pit that once contained their favorite rocking chair; their children’s bikes; their wedding dresses. I’ve listened to them cry and, standing calf-deep in the world they had worked so hard to create, point to where they played charades after Christmas. I’ve talked to firefighters about how they’ve never seen fire behave that way; marvel, with bloodshot eyes, at its ferocity and speed. I’ve followed search-and-rescue crews as they’ve combed through completely incinerated neighborhoods, looking for human remains. That night, I was driving home from covering the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks when I saw it: that familiar red glow lurking over the black hills. It was 11 p.m., the winds were strong and arid, and I drove straight into it. With one big gust, the Woolsey fire exploded and I spent the next week reporting on it.

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Around 3 p.m. the next day, my phone began to buzz. “I think your house is gone,” my friend whispered. “I think ours is, too.” I froze. My house. I had spent the past few years avidly trying to forget where I grew up. My parents were in the throes of a brutal divorce and we had locked up the house, leaving it, along with all its memories, photos, and the family that it used to contain, alone. My decision to get home was instant and recklessly absolute. Winding down my deserted, ravaged street, I exhaled. There it was, encircled by black, snaking lines where flames had licked my yard and crawled up the trees, just like I used to do. Walking past my broken, smoking mailbox, though I realized what we had lost. My parents had rented our house and had shoved all our family and childhood mementos into a shed — the only structure on the property to burn. I bent down, like I had so many time before, to comb through the silky ash, but this time, they were my memories, my high school yearbooks, my elementary school report cards, my family photos. I’ve learned that wildfires pick and choose what they take, leaving just one home or mailbox standing among a sea of leveled streets. The Woolsey fire took what my family and I didn’t know how to part with: a collection of things that we no longer were. Hands dusty, I carried what I could from the ruins in my blackened yard and headed back out into the field, the pile a silhouette. A few days later, I flew up to Paradise to cover the historic fire there, which killed 85 people and rendered nearly an entire town to nothing. One woman told me how she only had time to grab a photograph of her youngest daughter and a drawing by her grandson off the fridge before she ran for her life. She said that she didn’t know how to process the magnitude of what she had lost, all those memories. I squeezed her hand and told her that it was going to be ok, that I understood, because I did. MM

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THE GERBER FAMILY

“Malibu is strong. But we also need time to grieve.” The Gerbers’ dreams of owning a home in Malibu were finally realized in 2013. 5 years later, they were facing their nightmare.

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e have been dreaming of living and raising our kids in Malibu for years. It wasn’t easy to find an affordable home for a young family, but our dream came true in 2013 when we bought our home on Encinal Canyon. My husband loves the beach, swimming and kitesurfing and my passion has always been horses, so I love the mountains. For both of us, our home is now only a few minutes away from our passions. When you have horses in the mountains, you are always a bit on edge during fire season — my husband is relentlessly monitoring wind conditions on his kite app. Friday morning around 4 a.m. our fears were realized when I got a call to come up to the ranch and evacuate our horses. We hopped in our truck and trailer and started evacuating. We have the most amazing barn owners and thankfully, the horse community is tight knit so we quickly had people showing up from all over to help get all horses out. With my last load of horses around 10 a.m., the fire followed us down the road and I snapped one last photo of our neighborhood before the mountain was engulfed in flames. My husband got the evacuation notice around 7 a.m. and quickly packed up one car with just our kids, a few clothes, a computer and our passports. My parents, who had come from Germany to spend Thanksgiving with us, got in a second car with our dog. Closing the door to our home and not knowing if we would see it again was a difficult thing to do. They quickly got stuck on PCH like so many of our friends and neighbors trying to flee the flames on what seemed like the only way out. They arrived safely in San Diego 10 hours later and ended up staying there a few days. All we could do now was wait and hope for a miracle. The uncertainty was almost unbearable. I stayed behind and was able to see our house Saturday afternoon. There were still houses on fire and spot

THE GERBER FAMILY Bianca Gerber with her husband, Martin, and two children Leah and Ian.

fires everywhere, including two in our yard that I put out with my son’s sand bucket and some water that was left in our pool before it got too dark to stay. The thick smoke made it hard to see and breathe. Many of our neighbor’s homes were gone, but guardian angels were watching out for us — including one neighbor’s daughter (a retired firefighter) who came up Friday morning and used our horses and pool water for a few hours until there was no more water. In the end, the fire touched our house from all four sides and did quite some damage but the structure was left standing. Unfortunately many of our neighbors were not so lucky — our nightmare turned into their reality. I checked on a few house for friends while searching for more animals. For some of our friends, my photos were able to bring some closure and for others they were able to bring sheer joy that their homes survived the raging firestorm. We feel for all of our friends and neighbors who lost everything during those days. We know some things simply can’t be replaced. Malibu has the most amazing community and we are incredibly proud to call Malibu our home. And yes, Malibu is strong and yes, Malibu will rebuild. But we also need time to grieve and mourn MM the losses.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

JOSHUA CRAWFORD

“As we drove to his house, he told us we were going to fight fire, that our lives were on the line. Then I knew it was real.” 11-year Malibu resident Joshua Crawford was hired at the Malibu Labor Exchange to help defend a home up Corral Canyon from skyscraper-high flames. As told to Malibu Magazine

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round 6:30 a.m. I woke up on Zuma Beach, where I sleep most nights. I could smell smoke. I walked over to the Labor Exchange and Oscar [the Director of the Malibu Labor Exchange] was like ‘Yep. Malibu’s on fire.’ Then a guy in a Lincoln Town Car pulled up. He said he needed four men to help with a fire. He chose me and three other guys I didn’t know. As we started driving to his house up Corral Canyon, he told us we were going to fight fire, that our lives were on the line. Then we knew this was real. We could die. But it wasn’t a deterrent. I wanted to do whatever I could do to help. I’ve lived in Malibu for 11 years, and the community’s been so good to me. My two daughters, who are now 9 and 10, went to Webster. It’s so positive here, who wouldn’t want to help? Even though I don’t have a home, I wanted to do my part to help someone save theirs. When we got to the man’s house, everything on the other side of the hill was on fire. But it wasn’t exactly on us yet. We helped the man hook up his water pumps to the hydrant, then just watched the fires on the other side of the mountain. We

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watched as Trancas started to burn, then Point Dume. That night, though, the fire peaked over the hill. Then, suddenly, it hopped up on the other side of us, and we were engulfed in it. We stayed up all Friday night, fighting fires high as lampposts. We took shifts sleeping a little, outside around the perimeter, to be on alert. We could feel our lives were on the line. We put fire out behind other people’s houses, too. it wasn’t just the house of the man who hired us. We saved the 10 or so houses that were around it. The whole thing was a rollercoaster ride. It’s unexplainable. It was like war. But finally, around Sunday evening, you could see it was starting to blow over. Everything that could catch fire had already burnt. One thing that was heartbreaking was seeing the animals that died— the chipmunks, the squirrels, the mice. We saw a little deer that day, and the man who lived there said normally he saw it with its family. But that day it was just the one. On Tuesday morning, we finally left. I was exhausted, and just wanted to talk to my kids, who live in Texas now. At Sunset and PCH, I finally got service. My family had been trying to get in touch with me the whole time. My oldest was really worried. When I finally did talk to her, she was in a panic.

I headed back to the labor exchange, then eventually to a shelter in L.A. I can still see the fire now. I have nightmares about it. I was assigned a doctor at the shelter, who’s diagnosed me with PTSD. I’m still coughing, too. I’ve been coughing up black stuff, coughing up blood. I was at the shelter for about a week, because I couldn’t get back into Malibu. I didn’t have any documents showing I lived there. Since I’ve gotten back, it’s really slowed down at the labor exchange. I used to make good money, could support my kids. But it’s just gone. I specialize in landscaping, and so many houses lost their yards. I tried seeing if I could get help from FEMA. I explained that I’d been living and doing yardwork in Malibu for 11 years. They said unless I lost a home, there’s nothing I could sign up for. The only really bad experience I had though was when I went to the FEMA counter a few weeks after the fire. I was hungry, and asked if I could get a bag of trail mix and a bottle of water. The woman was so rude. She said, ‘I’ll give it to you this time, but you just can’t come in here.’ I was like, ‘I’ve lived in Malibu for 11 years. I just put my life on the line.’ It really hurt my feelings. I asked if she wanted me to pay for it, but she said MM no.

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JOSHUA CRAWFORD Crawford, a landscaper, has two daughters, age nine and ten living in Texas.

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SHANE SEMLER

“We’d just crossed the border when we started getting calls.” As he drove to Mexico for his wedding, Shane Semler learned that his family home and business, Malibu Wines, was on fire.

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wasn’t in Malibu the day the fire started. My wedding was scheduled for the following weekend, in Mexico, and my fiancée and I had left on a road trip down there the day before. At 6 a.m. that Friday we had just crossed the border when we started getting phone calls from my family. They were evacuating the whole property. I wasn’t near an airport but I asked if I should drive back. Not yet, they said. No one knew what was happening. I decided I would drive a day’s further south, which would put us right next to an airport. We didn’t have any service as we drove. Finally, that Saturday morning, we reached my parents. They said everything was basically gone. I asked if I should get on a plane, but my father and brother said to just stay and get ready for the wedding. They would do what they could that week, then everyone would fly down Friday, enjoy three days of wedding

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ceremonies, then fly back and deal with it. And that’s more or less what happened. I pretty much mentally checked out for that period. I did talk to my dad and brother off and on though, and I was witnessing a lot of the social media and media criticism about the animals on our property. That was really hurtful. What we were noticing is it wasn’t necessarily all these people formulating their own ideas about it. You’d have key figures say things that would trickle down, others would relay those sentiments, and before you knew it people were saying things that were completely false. The worst was people saying that Stanley wasn’t being treated well, and he should be relocated to another venue. We followed our exact evacuation plan to make sure our animals were safe as possible. In all of this there were a lot of people that were really supportive of us, telling these people hey, maybe you should check before you start saying this stuff. I had friends, family, people we didn’t even know, doing that type of thing. That Friday, when my parents got to Mexico, we sat down and had a big family conversation. It was a little emotional. But after that it was kind of like, lets just enjoy it. I think it was a really good break for them. And it was Mexico, so Tequila was flowing. All in all, we lost 65 structures. That includes everything from my parents’ main house down to a poolhouse pump. Right now we’re working out of a small office in Agoura. Me, next to my brother, next to my dad, next to my mom. But in a lot of ways, we’re not reliant on structures, thankfully. My brother runs the safaris, I run the hikes, so we’ve both completely resumed. Right now our property might look a lot different, but its going to be even prettier when it starts to bloom again. On the hikes, we’ve started giving people bags of native wildflowers, so they MM can seed the pathways along the trails.

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PAUL J. MORRA

“So many more homes could have been saved.” Corral Canyon resident, Paul J. Morra believes the city and fire department could have done more.

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have profound respect and admiration for every Firefighter who battled the Woolsey Fire. I know many of them jumped right into action and saved countless homes and lives. But there is another truth. A truth that has left me with a heavy heart knowing so many more homes could have been saved. For those of us living in Corral Canyon, The Woolsey fire brought back much trauma from the 2007 Corral Fire when we lost 53 homes. For the past 10+ years, our community has been determined to make ourselves better-prepared. We established the Corral Canyon Fire Safety Alliance and built strong partnerships with LA County. We worked closely with the Fire Department and created our own Call Firefighter program, Engine 271. We ran community fundraisers and were awarded nearly 300k in federal grant funds for fuel modification projects. We conducted emergency evacuation drills and educated our neighbors about fire preparedness. Our achievements were a testament to what can happen when government and citizens work together to achieve a common goal. I was extremely proud of all our achievements with our County partners but the chaos and the incompetence that unfolded during the Woolsey Fire was very sobering. Everything failed. They turned off our power so we couldn’t receive the notifications designed to keep us safe. They failed to coordinate an effective evacuation of our City. They failed to install back-up systems for the miles of traffic lights not operating. They failed to open additional lanes to help ease the 3-5 hours of gridlock. They failed to provide sufficient firefighting resources and they even failed to provide the most basic of necessities, water! These failures are a direct result of shortsightedness and government bureaucracy. Our elected officials not only failed to prepare us but they failed to lead us through the battle. I always planned to stay behind after serving as a Call Firefight-

er with Engine 271 for five years. I was confident in my training and I was confident that our ten-year partnership with the County would come to fruition. As the flames entered the upper bowl of Corral Canyon at 10:25 am, there was no doubt in my mind lines of engines would soon follow including our own, Engine 271. We had no power but my phone worked periodically and I was in contact with fire command throughout the day. I requested engines and air support and when those big beautiful 747’s started dropping Phos Chek, I celebrated with joy. But the joy didn’t last long because once the air support disappeared, there were no engines in sight. What started off as manageable slowly intensified over a seven-hour period. I knew in my heart; we could’ve stopped Corral Canyon from burning if only we had some water drops. As the flames fueled and went unchecked, I knew we needed structure protection or we would lose homes. In desperation I raced 2.5 miles down Corral Canyon Road in search of engines. There were several engines parked along PCH and I begged each one for assistance but I was met with resistance and attitude. I refused to give up and I eventually convinced a Battalion Chief to send up a few engines. Unfortunately for the 22 homes that burned, those engines were from Ventura and Oxnard and the men inside refused to take orders no matter how much we begged. Engines literally sat idle as they watched homes take 2-3 hours to fully engulf without attempts to save them. Those are not the actions of heroes nor the actions we expect from our Fire Department. Heroes are the brave and selfless residents of Malibu who stayed behind no matter the dangers or challenges in order to save as many homes as possible. Those homes were not just homes that could be rebuilt. They were sanctuaries filled with love and lifeMM long memories that can never be replaced.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

REBECCA HACKETT

“The only thing I could figure out to do was keep driving. So that’s what I did.” As Rebecca Hackett fled down flame-engulfed Kanan, she accidentally pressed record on her phone. That terrifying video would captivate the nation. As told to Malibu Magazine

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y mom called me early that Friday morning. She lives in Ojai and I live in Silverlake, but we had seven horses at the White Cloud Ranch on Kanan. She was already on her way down to evacuate them. I jumped in my car and was on Kanan a couple hours later. As I drove to the ranch the hills were filled with smoke. But I couldn’t see flames. I got to the ranch around 8 a.m., rushed to our horses, and promptly realized I didn’t know what to do. I’d never evacuated horses before. I’d been trying to get a hold of my mom so she could tell me, but I had no reception. What I did know was that these horses were in stalls, and they needed to be somewhere bigger. So I let them out into a huge pasture. In my mind, I kept thinking: is it too soon to leave? When is the right time to leave? Then the wind changed. You could literally see it. In two minutes it became so strong, trees started falling. Suddenly I could see flames coming. I was still thinking: there’s no way I’m leaving my horses. But I had to. The fire was on me. It had become almost like a tornado. When I finally left, it was like the last second. When I got to Kanan, everything was on fire. My mom is from Malibu, and she’s always told me stories about fire. I grew up hearing about times she’d driven

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CELLPHONE VIDEO A still from Hackett’s viral recording.

through fire. So I was like, I can do this. I headed towards an Eastbound tunnel. Inside it was pitch black, except for a tiny bit of red in the distance. I realized I was about to drive through something really, really dangerous. My adrenaline was pounding. It seemed like I was in that tunnel forever. When I emerged, I couldn’t see anything but sparks. It was so hot in the car I was sweating. But the only thing I could figure out to do was keep driving. So that’s what I did. I drove across downed power lines, below fallen telephone poles. It was like a furnace. The whole time I was scared my car was going to blow up. But I thought: you can’t do anything about that. So just keep driving. Finally, at the second tunnel, I saw firefighters. ‘You just drove through that?’ they said. ‘You’re so lucky to be alive.’ They

said to keep going. The fire had already burned through lower Kanan. I was safe. That’s when I realized my phone was on. I had taken a video at the top of Kanan, and had accidentally forgotten to turn it off. I had recorded the whole thing. A few minutes later I was in Agoura. Everything was closed. I drove around for a bit and eventually found service. I was able to reach my mom, who was safe on Zuma beach. I posted the Kanan video on Instagram. Soon I was getting calls from the media. I posted the video without sound, but when a reporter asked me for it I accidentally sent it with sound, and they aired that. That’s been hard. I’ve felt very exposed. I’m not a religious person, but I say ‘Oh my God’ in general a lot, and I say it a lot in the video. As a result, quite a lot of religious people have reached out to me. Which is fine, but I’m just personally not that religious, so it’s been a little strange. The next day, Saturday, my mom and I got to our horses. All 7 were OK. Later we found out every horse at White Cloud Ranch survived. Amazing. In the weeks since I’ve felt fine, actually. I kind of felt like I would be more traumatized about the experience. Ultimately it was really just exhausting. But I’d really love to take a class on fires, now. After seeing things like how the wind changed. You don’t know what that’s like unless you’ve been MM through it.

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REBECCA HACKETT Like her mother, Hackett grew up in Malibu. She now lives in Silverlake but returned in an attempt to save her families’ seven horses.

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THE POPTSIS’ Sue and George awoke early Friday morning to a call from their son’s friend, urging them to leave immediately.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

GEORGE & SUE POPTSIS

“I hit my hoe through a pile of bricks. And as they fell over, I saw this little box.” After Sue and George Poptsis fled their Malibu Park home, Sue realized she’d left her wedding ring. Searching through the rubble days later, George made a miraculous discovery. As told to Malibu Magazine

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UE: At 6 o’clock on Friday morning one of my son’s friends called. “You guys better get out of the house,” he said. “It’s coming.” So I got up, loaded my cats and birds in their carriers, and packed a small suitcase. Just a few clothes, like I was going away for a couple days. I said to George, “OK, I’m leaving.” He said, ‘OK, I’m ready.” I said, “What do you mean? Let’s get out of here.” But he’d decided he was staying. GEORGE: After Sue left, my neighbor Mark Bates came up. We decided we would prepare our houses, just do our thing. If we saw flames over Horizon Dr. then we would reassess. I was at Mark’s house when my son, Chris, who’s a firefighter, called me. He said, “Dad, you’ve got to get out of there.” I said, “I’m fine.” Then his supervisor gets on. “Mr. Poptsis,” he said. “You must leave.” I go, if it gets ugly, I’ll leave. But it was still manageable at that point. SUE: When I got to George’s sister’s house, the first words out of her mouth were: “Did you get your jewelry?” I hadn’t. I’d just grabbed my animals and a few clothes. And then I remembered, I’d left my wedding ring at the house. GEORGE: For a while there, after Mark and I had prepared, it was kind of nervous energy. We were at Mark’s, just waiting for the fire to come. It was eerily quiet. Then,

MIRACLE While almost everything else burnt, Sue’s wedding ring survived.

MALIBU PARK The Poptsis’ home was one of hundreds lost.

suddenly, we see flames on Horizon Dr. Immediately the temperature went up 30 degrees, and the wind started blowing in this circular motion, maxking noises like a tornado. I said to Mark, “I think we’ve got to get out of here.” I ran back to my house, and in my backyard there was an 80 foot wall of fire. And it was coming right at me. Right then I knew this is beyond reality. This is something I’ve never seen before. I jumped in my car, and as I drove off, the whole mountain from Busch Dr. to

Philip Ave. just lit up. Like spontaneous combustion. Like a volcano. Mark and I drove around Malibu Park for a while. The flames kept following us. Eventually we met up with my son Chris, who said we had to leave. So around 5 p.m. we headed to my sister’s. Sue and I got back the next day, Saturday. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Our house was gone. Our neighborhood was just decimated. It was like a warzone. SUE: I wanted to look for my wedding ring, but that day it wasn’t safe. GEORGE: I got back three days later, and started sifting through rubble in the corner where I knew Sue kept her jewelry, where our bathroom used to be. But there was nothing. Eventually I found one Tiffany box where I knew Sue had a necklace. When I opened it, dust poured out. For an hour, I searched, but found nothing. Frustrated, I just hit my hoe through a pile of bricks. And as they fell over, I see this little box. I opened it, and there was Sue’s wedding ring. Somehow, it was still somewhat intact. SUE: George sent me a picture of my ring and I immediately started crying. That was the first time since the fire. You kind of have to turn off that part of your brain, when you’re in it. You’re just trying to get through the day, trying to figure out where you’re going to live. So to me that was a miracle. Like a message from God, that there was still hope and to keep moving. MM

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MICHAEL LANSBURY

JOHN MAZZA

FRANK KERZE

RANDY HOLLAND

ZUMIREZ DRIVE

“There was so much tragedy and danger, but we did have some good times, too.” As fire descended on lower Zumirez Dr., many residents chose to stay behind, working together to extinguish the blaze while sharing some good meals along the way. As told to Malibu Magazine

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ACE: That Friday morning, it seemed like most of the street was up on the corner of Zumirez Dr. and PCH watching the fire. The general consensus at that time was it was going to miss us and burn over to Zuma. I went home and changed clothes, thinking we were out of danger. FRANK: Around 2:30 p.m., that’s when we heard it had jumped Kanan. MICHAEL: That was a very strange feeling. We’re at the end of the street, watching 10,000 feet of smoke in the air obviously coming toward us. It was as if we were watching and waiting for someone to tell us to do something. Rather than go make preparations, rather than do something, it was like, you see this disaster

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coming, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I didn’t know what I was going to do, except that I was going to stay. FRANK: When the fire jumped from Kanan to the lot next to the Native Hotel, and the fire department didn’t put it out, that’s when we knew they weren’t going to be any help. That we had to do something. MARY: There was also the fact that you couldn’t get back in. I didn’t want to be on the outskirts, not knowing what happened to Mace. I would have been a bigger nervous wreck if I’d left. JAMES: I stayed because of brotherhood. FRANK: The fire hit our street around 4:30 p.m. I was on my roof, wetting everything down, when I saw the fire coming up to my neighbors’ house. I figured with my two hoses, I might be able to do

some good. But when I got there, I looked through their French doors, and I could see fire and embers already floating inside. So at that point I said, ‘It’s done for. There’s nothing I can do.’ I jumped back over my fence. That’s when I realized my car was on fire. MICHAEL: There are gullies on either side of Zumirez Dr. By that afternoon fire was coming down both, hitting some houses. JOHN: So while Frank was dealing with his neighbors’ house, Mace and I started gravitating towards the gully that runs from Wildlife through Zumirez. Then my wife, Robby, James and a few other people went over towards the Spivaks’ home, towards the middle of the street. It hadn’t caught fire yet, but embers were falling on it, and we were trying to stop it there. But people had been dumping chips and

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LAND

FAKE

JAMES RESPONDEK

MARY STANLEY

MACE STANLEY

a cohesiveness. There was this idea that horse manure on the lot next to it for a in helping your neighbor, you were helpdecade. It was thick with stuff that was burning underneath. We’d put it out and ing yourself. We all have our own property, but it was clear tha, as a group, parit would burn again. ticularly these guys, more so than me in JAMES: It was like molten lava under many respects, by helping each other you the ground. If you put a hose on it, it helped yourself. That created real camawould just gurgle for like five minutes. raderie. When you ran behind someone’s RANDY: By 7 p.m. the Spivaks’ was just gone. It was like an inferno. James lives right next door and still had a little hose on it. It was like David and Goliath, man. And I said to him, “James, we’ve gotta bail.” Just at that moment, though, this little fire truck, I mean like a two-man firetruck, from Santa Clarita pulls up. JAMES: At that moment, it was absolutely critical. Like one minute, two minutes later, my house would’ve been toast. I lost some windows, but we saved the house. FRANK: That night I ended up opening my house up to everybody as a place to meet, eat. Mace and NEIGHBORS The group that stayed Mary volunteered a little refrigerator, behind, in Cross Creek in December. which we put on a generator, so we were able to keep things cold. We ate steaks, pasta. house, you knew they were behind your JAMES: We ate great! I think everyone house. put on some weight. JOHN: The fires gradually got smallFRANK: I mean, Michael can cook some er throughout the week, but we still had breakfast, man. flare-ups. We still had Santa Ana’s on MICHAEL: I hate to say it, because there Tuesday. The fire didn’t feel actually done was so much tragedy, and danger, and evuntil Wednesday. erything else, but we did have some good MARY: Our families got in 9 days later. times, too. Those were good hugs. Then it seemed PAUL: When we sat down to eat, we had like, okay. We’re not cut off to that extent

PAUL TAUBLIEB

anymore. Things are getting back to normal. FRANK: I still haven’t slept any night since. MARY: Not at all. MICHAEL: I’ve been waking up at 2 a.m. for three weeks. MARY: And every night I’m waking up coughing. FRANK: The thing I’m worried about is if Malibu will come back like it used to be. Because if you go on Point Dume, the houses that burnt, by and large, were the old-timers. The old 50s houses. There’s not a lot of them left anymore. I think there’s a very high chance that these houses will be scooped up by speculators, and we’ll get a bunch of Taco Bell tract mansions. JAMES: I think a lot of people are thinking about leaving. MARY: I’ve thought about it. There have been times. FRANK: I think after the way that it appeared, which was absolute mayhem and apocalyptic– MARY: That’s it. FRANK: –you kind of have this feeling. I’ve been in other fires where I’ve seen a lot of firemen there, stopping it. This didn’t feel like that. This felt like, no one knew what was going on. It was just us. MACE: We lost 2 houses on our street. If we hadn’t all stayed and fought it, I’ll bet we would’ve lost at least another 10 MM or 12.

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

JEFFERSON ‘ZUMA JAY’ WAGNER

“I was in full fire-fighting gear and hooked up to a hydrant. I did everything right.” Just a few weeks before he was sworn in as Mayor of Malibu, fire overcame Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner’s Latigo Canyon property, destroying his house and leaving Wagner in the hospital for weeks. ✎ written by Barbara Burke

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t is no exaggeration to say that Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner is somewhat of an institution in Malibu. He’s a former deputy sheriff for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office (LASO). He’s a long-time stuntman who carries a fire scene degree, a pyrotechnic license class 1, and who has started — and successfully extinguished — hundreds of flame scenes on movie sets over the years. He was the Marlboro man and was featured in Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic commercial campaigns back in the day. For years, he has operated Zuma Jay’s Surf Shop located across from the Malibu Pier, a venue that he operates for California State Parks. Currently, he serves as the mayor of Malibu. In recent weeks, Wagner is the first to say that he is one helluva lucky guy. On November 9, Malibu was struck by a raging inferno, the Woolsey Fire, a conflagration that ultimately obliterated hundreds of structures in Malibu and adjacent unincorporated areas. Wagner and his longtime girlfriend, Candace Brown, valiantly fought against the fire, successfully protecting their Latigo Canyon area home from the first ravaging fire storm. “LASO

Sergeant has I-phone video footage showing me fighting the fire as it rose above the telephone pole,” Wagner Wagner told Malibu Magazine. “I was in full fire-fighting gear and I was hooked up to a hydrant – I did everything right in fighting that fire.” However, that was before Wagner ran out of water. “An ember hit the roof and our home burned from the roof down,” He said. “After going back in and using all the CO2 tanks that I had available, all I could do was watch my home burn down. You cannot fight a fire without water or CO2 and I did not have either – the electricity was out and you couldn’t pump water to refill the reservoirs.” It was a tragic ending that Wagner and Brown both maintain most likely could have been avoided – if one of the fire trucks that Brown saw hours before they lost the structure had come to help them fight the fire. “I begged them to come help,” Brown said. “I went from fire truck to fire truck to fire truck and they all said they did not have orders to come help us.” Wagner shook his head in disbelief. “Candace pleaded with them,” He said. “They just said they were not tasked to

go into our canyon even though there is ample room to turn a fire truck around. We saw one helicopter approach, but it did not drop water near our home and we saw a DC 10 up-canyon make one drop, but it also did not make a drop near our home.” Wagner is no stranger to fighting fires. He grew up in Hidden Hills and moved to Malibu in 1971, the year that he learned during a firestorm that one cannot fight a wildfire itself, but one can, if he knows what he is doing – and if he has water – successfully thwart a structure fire. “In 1993, I saved two structures in the Big Rock fire – Lou Adler’s editing home and attorney Joan Levine’s home,” Wagner said. “I stayed to fight in the 2007 fire that affected Corral Canyon and Latigo Canyon and I know pyrotechnics.” Before he ran out of water, Wagner successfully saved his neighbor’s house and he managed to save his garage. In the Woolsey fire, he almost lost his life. When it became apparent that the house was going up in flames, Brown – herself so injured that she ultimately had to have a toe amputated due to an infection stemming from an injury caused by the 500-pound fire hoses – fled with the

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

LATIGO CANYON Wagner suffered extreme carbon monoxide poisoning while defending his home, and ultimately landed in the hospital for weeks. The Woolsey Fire would completely level his home (pictured above).

family pet to the Surf shop. There, she anxiously waited, knowing that Wagner remained to watch their home burn to the ground. “When he staggered into the shop, Jay was in terrible shape,” Brown said. “I managed to call 911 and an ambulance took him to the hospital at UCLA.” Simply stated, Wagner is lucky that he did not die. He spent three days in the ICU as he battled carbon monoxide poisoning. “The toxins affected my kidney function,” He said. “They stapled my eyes shut while they healed from the smoke injuries and I had burns all over my skin.”

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Wagner and Brown grieve the loss of their home, as do many Malibuites. “Our home was a beautiful 4,050 square-foot home with white water ocean views,” Wagner told Malibu Magazine. “I had just paid the mortgage off, we had just put a new roof on, we had just installed a new heating and air conditioning unit and a new kitchen.” Like many others, Wagner and Brown most likely face years of litigation, of insurance hassles and years rebuilding. Over time, hopefully lessons will be learned as experts analyze what went wrong in fighting the Woolsey fire and ex-

plore how to better combat fires that besiege Malibu and its surroundings. As victims of the Woolsey fire gathered at Pepperdine for a Thanksgiving dinner, State Senator Henry Stern shared grateful sentiments. “He had a terribly close call as he fought the fire and tried to save his home,” Stern said. “But, I am so glad to report that Zuma Jay is back.” Wagner took the stage, smiling. His voice was getting stronger by the day. Weeks later, Wagner is helping to run Malibu as it slowly recovers and rebuilds. He too will rebuild because if anyone is - Zuma Jay Wagner is Malibu Strong. MM

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HISTORY OF FIRE This map shows the wildfires that have hit Malibu since 1928, roughly 30. The darkest areas of the map are those that have seen the most fires.

Malibu’s 10 Most Destructive Fires

1 2018 2 1993 3 1978 4 1970 5 1956 6 1958 7 1982 8 2007 9 1996 10 1985 98

Woolsey Fire

670 Homes

97,000 Acres

The most destructive fire in Malibu’s history.

Old Topanga

369 Homes

16,800 Acres

Left 565 firefighters injured.

Kanan Fire

230 Homes

25,000 Acres

Occured as 7 other major fires burned.

Wright Fire

103 Homes

28,000 Acres

10 people died in this Maliby Cyn. fire.

Newton Fire

100 Homes

26,000 Acres

Erupted in Newton Canyon on Christmas.

Liberty Fire

74 Homes

18,000 Acres

This Corral Cyn. fire injured 8 firefighters.

Dayton Fire

15 Homes

44,000 Acres

15 homes in Paradise Cove were lost.

Canyon Fire

15 Homes

4,565 Acres

Latigo and Corral sustained damage.

Calabasas

10 Homes

13,000 Acres

Began at the 101 and Las Virgenes.

6 Homes

6,600 Acres

Broke out the same day as the Piuma Fire.

Decker Fire

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ANALYSIS

WHY DOES MALIBU HAVE SO MANY FIRES?

While Malibu has always had fires, Woolsey was by and large the most destructive. Is this the new normal? ✎ written by Holly Bieler

F

ire has long been the price of living in Malibu. The rewards, vast and obvious to anyone who’s driven through its 13 spectacular miles but once, were per-

haps best described by Frederick Rindge, the Cambridge-born businessman and L.A.-émigré often credited as the founder of modern-day Malibu. Upon surveying Malibu for the first time in 1892, then little more than coastal farmland,

he wrote: “To absorb the peace the hills have… to receive the strength of the mountains, by dwelling in their company: this is living! To lose one’s self by the side of the sea! Free indeed am I!” Five years later Rindge and his wife, May,

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Source: Santa Monica Mountains Community Wildfire Protection Plan

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Mullen. “It’s part of our lifestyle.” would build their dream property in the professor of biological sciences at the With Woolsey, however, Malibu saw a same area, a 13,000-square foot ranch University of Southern California. “But I fire unparalleled in it modern history. spanning the eastern edge of Malibu, hesitate to blame global warming, or the By and large the biggest and most dewith a beautiful, stately ranch home at natural cycle of wildfires, because that’s the mouth of Malibu Canyon. structive to hit Malibu since California letting people off too easily. We’re buildIt wouldn’t stand more than a decade. began keeping records, the fire burnt ing in areas where we shouldn’t be.” In the early hours of December 4, 1903, approximately 600 homes in Malibu Richard A. Minnich, a professor of earth Rindge’s ranch hands awoke to find and nearly 97,000 acres before all was sciences at the University of California, smoke barreling down Malibu Canyon. said and done, dwarfing the numbers of Riverside, echoed this sentiment, sayBuoyed by strong Santa Anas, a small all other fires that have hit the area over ing that while many are quick to blame Calabasas brush fire had transformed the last century. And while people have global warming for the increasingly deinto a major conflagration by dawn, and accepted the threat of fire in exchange structive fires which have ravaged Caliin hours would level fornia in recent years, the Rindge property a larger factor is the increasing development and much of eastern of Southern California Malibu before gutting land that is known hisKanan and Trancas torically to burn. down to county line. “We have to ask the By dawn the next question: can the land morning, the fledgling use be sustained,” he town of Malibu, all of 6 said. “And with the years old, was no longer. current conditions For as long as there’s of housing construcbeen Malibu, there’s tion, and the nature been fire. Sediment of chaparral and the collected in the SanMediterranean climate ta Barbara Channel in Southern Califorshows that large fires nia, with long-term have occurred in the summer drought every Santa Monica Mounyear, it is just not postains on a regular basis sible to protect these for the last 600 years. structures.” In fact, they played Fire plays an integral WOOLSEY FIRE The most destructive fire in Malibu’s modern history, an integral part in the role in the ecology of Woolsey smoldered for days, and wasn’t fully contained for two weeks. Chumash Indians’ way Southern California, of life, who began to Minnich said, ridding rely on the wildfire which consistentareas like the Santa Monica Mountains for the rewards of living in Malibu for ly erupted during the summer months of old organic matter that wouldn’t be years, since the Rindges’ built their to manage their landscape and aid in cleared without it. dream home only to see it summarily farming practices. Since the state be“Anywhere in the world, you have burn down only a few years later, the toll gan keeping records of fires, in the early to have a conservation of biological of Woolsey suggests an entirely different 1900s, Malibu has recorded an average mass,” he said. “But in the dry climates monster. In it’s wake, many Malibu-ites of two wildfires every ten years. of Southern California, this decomposihave been left wondering if this scope is “When people think of big fires in Maltion is really inefficient.” the new normal, and if, ultimately, it’s ibu, its part of our history,” said Malibu Plant growth can’t occur without getworth it. City Council Member and Captain of ting rid of old plant matter, in essence. “Fires have gotten worse in California,” Fire Station 72 in Decker Canyon, Rick In many areas of the world this doesn’t said Dr. Travis Longcore, an assistant

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Source: Santa Monica Mountains Community Wildfire Protection Plan

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without burning, becoming more depresent a problem: during warm, humid However as development has inmonths, biological matter like old plants structive each year, is in many ways yet creased and fire departments have adand brush tends to decompose organanother side effect of the development opted strategies to contain every blaze ically. Not so in Southern California. of fire-threatened areas, Minnich said. that ignites, fires now generally occur “Here, when it’s wet it’s cold and when Contemporary fire management stratonly under the most extreme condiit’s dry, it’s not humid,” he said. “Nothing egies focus on containment, on puttions. In Southern California this means breaks down, really. So instead of organting out all fires quickly to save life and fall, when treacherous Santa Ana winds ic breakdown we get inorganic breakstructures. However Minnich said this blow and drought-dry chaparral is often down, through rapid oxidation: fire.” strategy can ultimately make fires more at its most lethal. And when fires do igThat breakdown is integral, allowing severe when they do occur. nite, there are acres upon acres to burn, for new plants to grow, enriching soil “In the 19th century, before contemwith no pockets of already-burnt land to with nutrients and allowing for new porary fire department management, help retard the flames. varieties of plants to Indeed this was angrow which can only other of the major germinate following contributing factors to a fire. And the longer Woolsey’s scale. the land goes without “Maybe that’s why it this breakdown, withgot so bad,” Council out catching fire, the member Mullen said. more deadly that fuel “It just hadn’t burnt becomes when it ultiin so long. Historicalmately does. ly, pre-European man Dr. Longcore said being here, fires in this this is one of the reaarea were a normal ocsons Woolsey might currence, [and chaparhave proven so deral burnt more].” structive. This, if anything, “Some of that chapis the silver lining to arral in the [Santa Woolsey, Minnich said, Monica Mountains] something of a somber hadn’t burned for 70 consolation to effected years,” he said. “It was Malibuites wondering due.” if they should expect Council member anything like Woolsey 1935 The Latigo/Sherwood Fire traveled a similar route as Woolsey through Point Dume, destroying most of its eastern edge. Mullen said the exagain in the near futremely dry chaparral ture. was a major factor for “They always have the strength of the fire. “Once [the fire] to do the doom and gloom part when there were a lot more fires making firecrosses the 101, it hits a heavy brush area they’re firefighting, then as soon as the scarred patches on the landscape,” he and the topography of the canyons and firefighting ends, they forget to state said. “Those fire-scarred patches have the mountains channels the wind,” he one little fact,” Minnich said. “Guess no fuel. So when another fire got to said. “And really I think the biggest facwhat? There’s a removal of energy.” it a few years later, it wouldn’t burn.” tor was the long drought period, that it “It wont be that scale in those areas During this time fires would often occur had gone on for so long. The fuels in all for quite a while,” Council Member Mulin the summer, when humidity in the these heavy brush areas were super dry, len said. “But remember, Topanga and Santa Monica Mountains was higher and really susceptible to spotting. The fire that whole area didn’t burn. There’s still off-shore breezes could help quell fires. just leapfrogged as the wind picked up plenty of bad things that could happen Thus fires generally moved more slowly, the embers.” That chaparral goes so long in this area.” and burnt less acres. MM

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DAY LABORER

NOVEMBER, 2018 This photo of the charred landscape was taken on Kanan immediately following the Woolsey Fire.

ECOLOGY

NEW LIFE FROM THE ASHES Despite the recent devastion, the Santa Monica Mountains are set to bounce back quickly, giving new life to various species of plants and animals in the process. ✎ written by Malcolm McLellan  photographed by Julie Wuellner

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ust like Malibu’s community, its ecology is resilient, strong, and will bounce back quickly. “Chaparral is a vegetation type primarily composed of drought and fire hardy bushes” Monzón says. “Chaparral and fire coincide. Fire is a very natural, normal, and healthy element of Chaparral.” Though wildfires initially destroy many plants and animals,

fire creates two important processes for the ecology of Malibu: recycling and rejuvenating. “Fire recycles nutrients and enriches the soil,” Monzón said. “It also rejuvenates the landscape. Many species [of plants in Malibu] are not able to germinate without the result of fire.” The rejuvenation process begins within days after a fire. While on a hike in the Santa

Monica Mountains just three days after Woolsey hit, Monzón said he had already witnessed new shoots emerging from Yucca plants “Though everything above ground has been incinerated, the root mass of these adapted species resprout very quickly from energy and water stored in their roots,” he said. The resprouting process is not the only process that will be

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DECEMBER, 2018 Just a few weeks later, the mountains are already making a comeback, with grass popping up everywhere.

taking place in the mountains of Malibu. There will also be rebirth. Many seeds are scattered throughout the landscape that needed fire in order to be reborn as a new generation, bringing new life and beauty to the mountains that hasn’t been present since the last time Malibu burned. “Now that the hillsides are black and diluted, one of the first things we will see are fire annuals; plants that have been laying dormant for years since the last fire.” Monzón says. “These plants will put on a dazzling display of color in the hillside after the winter rain.” The months after the fire will be a special time for Malibu’s hillsides since fire annuals only have a lifecycle of one year. After flowering they will set seed and lay dormant until the next fire. A prevailing concern among Malibuites is that many plants and animals have been lost to the fire. This is only true for the immediate future. Monzón believes the regrowth process will happen rapidly this spring, providing Malibu’s animal population a chance to bounce back. “Plants form the foundation of the food web, so when the plants change the animals will change,” he said. “As a result, we can expect an increase in not only animal activity but also the diversity of animals

in Malibu through the expected rapid vegetative growth.” With additional plant species, there will be an abundance of deer, which can have a positive impact on the population of mountain lions as well (read The Great Survivalist, page 106). Monzón hesitates to suggest that there is need to control the frequency of fires. “What we worry about is preventing the destruction of infrastructure, human life, and human property. That’s what we don’t want.” Finding a balance between preserving Malibu’s natural habitat and the cities’ infrastructure can be a challenge. Fires have long been a part of Malibu’s history (read Why Does Malibu Have So Many Fires?, page 98) and local plant species have adapted to the point that fires are necessary for them to survive and start new generations. “We think many of these [native] plant species evolved as a response to frequent fires, such as seeds germinating after fire or chaparral bushes evolving an ability to sprout quickly even if their above ground biomass was completely incinerated.” Similarly, Monzón said that animals native to the Santa Monica Mountains have adapted as well. “In theory, if some animals had a genetic predisposition to

survive better after a wildfire, then those inherent dispositions to survive should be passed on.” says. This leads to the question of how animals survive when their entire habitat is on fire. Animals are smart enough to come out of their natural habitat to seek shelter. Monzón explains that the presence of wood rats in the community of Malibu has increased after the fire. In fact, many people in Malibu have noticed rats under the hood of their cars. “When the mountains revegetate, which will occur rapidly, it will attract them back. There will be many fire annuals producing seed that will be a rich food source for many rodents.” “In the lingo of ecology a wildfire is considered a disturbance.,” Monzón said. “The ecological community is the assemblage of the various species that occupy an area. When the community is disturbed, it bounces back and gets restored to its original state. This bounce-back is called succession. The process of succession is a rapid rise in species diversity.” In future months, Malibu can expect to see not only the species of plants that already lined the hillside returning, but over the next five years new species as the regrowth process MM commences.

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MOUNTAIN LIONS

THE GREAT SURVIVALIST Just like the people of Malibu, mountain lions of Santa Monica Mountains are learning to adapt to their new, more barren surroundings. ✎ written by Brenna Spalding

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alibu is home to thousands of people, all of whom were affected by the Woolsey Fire in some way. One curious creature that calls Malibu home remains threatened by the scorched hills it once roamed in, largely unseen; the mountain lion. Closely monitored by the National Parks Service, all but two of the mountain lions in and around Malibu are believed to have survived the flames of the Woolsey Fire, which burned 75 percent of their natural habitat. “There were eleven lions that were potentially affected by the fire that we were tracking, either in the Santa Monica Mountains or in the Simi Hills,” said Seth Riley, chief wildlife ecologist for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is part of the National Parks Service. Nine of the eleven are believed, at this point, not to have been majorly affected by the fire. The mountain lions that roamed Malibu and nearby areas prior to

the fire, did so with a resiliency that will no doubt be of help as their habitat recovers. Justin Dellinger, a senior environmental scientist specializing in mountain lions and wolves at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory, said that mountain lions are generally adaptable. “They’re pretty generalist-type critters,” he said. “They can get along in a lot of different habitats. A significant proportion of California is considered a mountain lion habitat. We have more suitable habitats for mountain lions than any other state in the west.” Los Angeles, and in turn, Malibu, is one of only two cities in the world that provides a suitable habitat for mountain lions. However, it’s not without its peril. The most common cause of death among mountain lions in Malibu is, oddly enough, other mountain lions. The act of a mountain lion killing another mountain lions is known as intraspecif-

ic strife. With such a limited amount of space up for grabs, mountain lions fight amongst themselves for various reasons. This is not uncommon in other mountain lion populations, however, the National Parks suggest that this could be “exacerbated by the fact that mountain lions are basically trapped on an island of habitat, surrounded by freeways and the Pacific Ocean,” here in Malibu. Dellinger states that a home range; “a space on a landscape that they roam,” to male mountain lions, “might be more considered a territory than a home range, where it’s an area that they’re going around trying to defend and keep out other males.” A mountain lion needs two key components within their habitat in order to survive. “What they need is food and people willing to let them live there,” Dillinger said, “If they’ve got those two things, they can make it.” With the Woolsey fire sending prey about searching for unburned land, it is unclear whether or not hunting

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Source: National Parks Service

SURVIVAL INSTINCTS In order to survive amongst the destruction of the Woolsey Fire, mountain lions, like this female known as P-35 to the National Parks monitoring system - will have to adapt to the shortage of thriving habitat.

will become more difficult or competitive for these cougars. “It will be interesting to see if we see more [intraspecific strife] because they’re forced into closer proximity, because of the fire,” said Riley. There were concerns for the mountain lions’ well-being even prior to the Woolsey Fire, but now that their scarce and scattered lands have become somewhat inhabitable, if not for mountain lions themselves, surely for the prey that they seek, concern for the survival of Malibu’s mountain lions has escalated profusely. As for the remaining two monitored lions that are believed to have perished during the Woolsey Fire, according to Riley, their deaths were caused by different factors. The young male lion, known as P-74, died in the flames on the evening of November 9. The other lion, also a male,

“MOUNTAIN LIONS ARE TRAPPED ON AN ISLAND OF HABTAT.” P-64, is believed to have been fleeing the fire when his paws were badly burned, leading to complications with hunting. “That’s the thing about this fire - it was just huge,” Riley said. “The biggest fire that anyone would previously talk about in the Santa Monica Mountains area was the Green Meadows Fire in ‘93 and that

burned about 35,000 acres. This fire burned 100,000.” For the mountain lions who did survive the Woolsey Fire, life among the damage might not be a monumental concern. “I would imagine if a fire went through a home range, if the fire acted like any normal wildfire, then they could probably still persist,” Dellinger says. “It is something that we are trying to get a better understanding of though, and not just state possibilities.” There is research to be done on these animals as the recovery continues, but as Malibu recovers and the natural mountain lion habitat rebuilds itself, we can count on this creature’s innate adaptability to support its survival, as long as we continue to acknowledge the importance of nurturing the land it MM roams.

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MARINE LIFE

SURFING DIRTY After Woolsey burned through homes and cars, recent rains swept the fire remnants directly into the ocean. Malibu Magazine investigates the possible effects on Malibu’s marine life. ✎ written by Brenna Spalding  photographed by Julie Wuellner 108 MALIBU MAGAZINE

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s the hills of Malibu recover from the extreme scorches of the Woolsey Fire, a battle against the fire remnants that have washed down into the ocean rages off-shore. The coastal waters in Malibu are speculated to have suffered these past few weeks from major pollutants that could have severe consequences. With a few days of what the Los Angeles County Health Department considers “significant rainfall,” Malibu faces runoff from the burn areas straight into the ocean. While runoff is not a new concern, in regards to water quality on the coast of Malibu, Graham Hamilton, the Los Angeles Chapter Coordinator of the Surfrider Foundation identifies this runoff as potentially more dangerous due to the recent fires, containing metals and other non natural elements. “When things are normal

and we have a heavy rainfall here in LA, Surfrider [Foundation], along with the LA County Health Department, advises people to stay out of the water for 72 hours” Hamilton says. 72 hours is the basic window that bacteria either perishes or is dispersed by coastal processes. Hamilton continues, “The problem with metals is that they don’t disperse, they just sink to the bottom of the ocean. So it’s difficult to know at what point it will be safe for people enter the water.” In order to better speculate the effects that the Woolsey Fire has had on Malibu’s coastal waters, Hamilton dives into his own observations. “I’ve been up in Malibu consistently since the fires have been tamped down - more importantly since we’ve had these rain events - and the water is incredibly, incredibly dirty,” Hamilton says. “You can see, from an elevated perspective...it almost looks like patches of the sea surface have been smoked...

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the marvelous Malibou Lake views make the journey well worth it. This hike takes explorers into the heart of a historical park-

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When you get down close to the beach actually in the surf zone, you can see dark, ashy sediment in the water.” This visible sediment is a concern among those who study the ocean water, but should also be a concern to the public as well. “Think of all the things in your house, and imagine all of those things are now turned to ash and rain picks up that ash and pushes it straight out into the ocean. That’s a lot of s*** to be exposing yourself to.” Hamilton says. After checking out the water from a surfer’s standpoint, Hamilton says, “I can tell you that the water in Malibu is certainly polluted at the moment. I personally am not surfing in Malibu right now. I’ve gone up on several occasions to kind of check and see how things look and at several beaches encompassed by the burn area...When the waves break on the shore it’s like they exert this plume of scent and you can smell smoke.” Surfers in Malibu are encouraged to be mindful during this time of uncertainty and to “Use their best judgement.” Tom Ford, the Executive Director of The Bay Foundation, explains that while they have not had the opportunity to monitor the open ocean potentially impacted by the aerial deposition of ash, they have - in assistance with the National Parks - witnessed deposits of sediment, ash, and particles of burnt wood lining the shores of Malibu Lagoon. “We’re going to see additional amounts of organic pollution, organic toxins, and metals in the smoke and ash because of the structural fires” Ford says. In terms of water quality, even low concentrations of metals can be very toxic. “Swimming in that water, consuming animals that live in that water, or drinking that water, those are some of the things that we most closely regulate because we recognize how damaging they can be” Ford says. These toxins, although unpredictable, are concerning for those entering the water. “I don’t know what the long-term effects are, but I can imagine they’re serious enough to warn staying out of the water,” Hamilton says. “With typical runoff, when you get exposed to high levels of bacteria, your symptoms can range from gastrointestinal issues to ear infections...but as far as burn runoff [is concerned], the jury’s still out.” Although agencies local to Malibu have not had the opportunity to study direct effects of wildfire on ocean life, a team at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) were able to observe and experiment on the ash that entered the ocean during the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara last year which, in respect to the coast, burned in a remarkably similar geographic region as Malibu’s Woolsey Fire. “When we applied for ship time we didn’t know there would be a fire, and then two weeks before we were scheduled to go out, the Thomas Fire broke out,” Kelsey Bisson, a former graduate student who was a part of the research team

says. The focus of their research was on microbial organisms in the ocean, which Bisson believes to be a crucial part of the ocean’s ecosystems. “These microbes eventually will feed things like whales, dolphins and sharks; they form the base of the food web here and everywhere around the world”, she says. “Understanding how they might react and adapt their behavior to ash is really important.” Bisson’s team observed the ash and its behavior in the ocean by measuring different properties of the seawater and comparing their data to previous years. While their results are preliminary, they observed that microbial communities of phytoplankton were growing. “One hypotheses that we have is that ash might be causing some things to grow. Of course, depending on what can grow from the ash, that could be good or bad for the fish,” Bisson says. As for the fish that graze on phytoplankton, Bisson found that ash particles are about the same size as the tiny microbes. “What that means is that animals that might be wanting to eat phytoplankton could mistake ash particles for food and eat that instead,” she explains, “We’ve been doing experiments on if that would affect the health of those animals or not, but we know that they are likely eating ash.” Because UCSB was the first and only institution to conduct research on marine life following a wildfire, there is a lot of research still left to be done. “What we need right now is a good metric to identify ash in seawater...and see if that is actually being deposited in high enough concentrations that it will make an impact on the animals,” Bisson says. “It’s really important, especially because so much of our livelihood and our recreation is centered in the coastal areas around the Pacific Ocean, to understand how the fires might affect marine life, that’s huge.” Although the future of Malibu’s coastal life is unsure, the community in Malibu is committed to doing all they can to better understand the impact of wildfires on the ocean. “There’s going to be a coalition of environmental organizations, including Surfrider, that are going to be conducting long-term water quality testing in the Santa Monica Bay, specifically in Malibu, to understand the long-term impacts of burn runoff,” Hamilton says. The coalition will include efforts from Surfrider, LA Waterkeeper, Heal The Bay, and The Bay Foundation. “The focus right now in Malibu is on recovery and I think it’s going to be the focus for the foreseeable future, whether that’s recovery for homeowners or recovery for terrestrial and marine ecosystems,” Hamilton says. “There’s just going to be a lot of recovery.” Following the community’s focus on restoration, the beaches in Malibu will resurrect to become the same populated and beloved places they’ve been for generations. MM

“AS FAR AS BURN RUNOFF IS CONCERNED, THE JURY’S STILL OUT.”

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10/30/18 16:04 3/9/18 12:50


TOPIC OF THE MONTH

On November 13, veteran pilot and photographer Mark Holtzman set out on a dramatic flight from Simi Valley to Oak Park, Kanan Road, Point Dume down to Pepperdine, Malibu Canyon and then ultimately to Malibou Lake to capture these jaw-dropping images of the Woolsey Fire’s destruction.

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November 13th 2018

THE VIEW FROM

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POINT MUGU A smoke plume can be seen looking at NAS Point Mugu over the Santa Monica Mountains. This plume was from a flareup in the Deer Creek Canyon area.

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BARREN MOUNTAINS The Santa Monica Moutains were hit hard by the Woolsey Fire. Here you can see the barren moutainscapes that remain after the fire burned through, on its way to the ocean.

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MALIBU PARK AND MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL Malibu Park was the hardest hit neighborbood in Malibu. While hundreds of homes were tragically lost on the streets behind Malibu High School, despite early reports, the school sustained minimal damage.

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PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY The Pepperdine University campus can be seen in this sweeping shot. The fire burned right up to the back of campus, where thousands of students were sheltering-in-place.

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CORRALL CANYON Scorched hillsides can be seen all around Corrall Canyon, where the neighborhood remains relatively untouched. On the far right of the image, Pepperdine University can be seen.

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MALIBOU LAKE Malibou Lake, often regarded as a mountain sanctuary, was another neighborhood hit hard as the Woolsey Fire barrelled through the mountains.

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FLAME RETARDENT DROPPED ON MALIBU CANYON Flame retardent can be seen streaked across the mountains adjacent to Malibu Canyon. This was part of a successful move to stop the fire from advancing into downtown Malibu and Topanga Canyon.

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SEMINOLE SPRINGS Utter devastation can be seen in this view of the Seminole Springs mobile home park following the Woolsey Fire. The park was made up of a co-op of 215 quaint lakeside homes between Malibu and Agoura Hills. Roughly a 100 of those homes were destroyed.

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JOIN OUR TEAM! Malibu Magazine is searching for local contributors, journalists and photographers who would like to get involved with the magazine, as well as local sales reps looking to work for commission part or full-time.

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REAL ESTATE MALIBU MARKET TRENDS

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BALANCED

SELLER

While Malibu’s market temperature during Q1 and Q2 leaned more towards a seller’s market, Q3 and Q4 saw a shift towards a buyer’s market. Currently, there are around 210 single family homes on the Malibu market. Source: Zilllow.com/Realtor.com/Own Research

SALES CURVE IN THE LAST 5 YEARS

2018

SALES JAN-DEC 2018

MAY 18

NOV 17

2017

The above chart shows Malibu’s market fluctuations, with 2017 and 2018 so far averaging a higher number of sales than 2016.

The median sold price is on average 10% lower than the median listing price.

$2.5M $2M $1.5M

MAY 18

NOV 17

MAY 17

NOV 16

MAY 16

NOV 15

$1M NOV 14

MEDIAN SOLD HOME PRICE

Source: Trulia

MAY 14

MEDIAN LISTING HOME PRICE SQ/FT

MEDIAN SALES PRICE IN THE LAST 5 YEARS

NOV 13

$3.3M $1.1 K $2.9 M

MEDIAN LISTING HOME PRICE

These sales numbers were measured until our print date of Dec 27th.

MAY 15

MAY 17

NOV 16

209

Source: Trulia

2016

MAY 16

NOV 15

2015

MAY 15

NOV 14

MAY 14

NOV 13

2014

Malibu’s median sales price has seen a slight but steady increase in the past five years.

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2019

REAL ESTATE TRENDS Malibu Magazine interviewed 10 of the most influential agents in Malibu about market trends following the Woolsey Fire, the recent shifts in Malibu’s rental market what’s to come in 2019.

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BRIAN GOLDBERG

SUSAN MONUS

Malibu’s premiere concierge realtor, boasting expertise in luxury sales.

Top-ranked Coldwell Banker agent specializing in beach-front sales.

How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? Long term - Hundreds of brand new homes will increase the value of Malibu Real Estate. Permit fees and higher property taxes will result in more revenue and growth in the City. The 1993 fire burned most of the homes in La Costa. 2 years later, most of the homes had been rebuilt and the values went up. The same thing will happen again. New homes are more valuable than older homes.Short term - Rental market is going crazy, sales have slowed. What real estate trends do you foresee in 2019? As soon as the victims have settled with their insurance companies, they will have to decide whether to rebuild, or sell their land and buy something else. By the middle of the year, many people will be buying homes and selling their land. Supply has been lowered, so prices will likely go up. How will the fire impact the rental market in Malibu? We already see a huge drop in inventory and prices rising on the rental market. Much of it is paid by insurance, but for those without insurance covering them, it can be a burden to find an affordable lease.

Do you think there is anything the City should do to help residents rebuild? The city is allowing people to skip a coastal development permit as long as the new square footage is less than 10% larger. They are also allowing people to bring an RV on their property to stay in until their new house is complete. These are huge advantages that will help a lot of people rebuild significantly faster than a traditional permitting process. Is there anything else you would like to add? Fire is a natural part of the cycle and has been happening here since the beginning of time. Fortunately there was very little loss of life in the Malibu fire this year, and the homes will be rebuilt. No matter where you live, there are natural hazards. We just happen to live in one of the most beautiful places on MM earth.

How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? Our local market has always been resilient in the face of adversity and the desire to live in Malibu remains strong. Although we are dealing with widespread devastation at the present time, new opportunities will emerge both in the short and long term. There will be Sellers who want to sell and Buyers who want to buy land if a property owner does not want to rebuild. Our landscape will change but a new beauty will emerge and there will be some spectacular custom homes built. The beauty of the mountains will return and we are already being surprised by the patches of emerging green. What real estate trends do you foresee in 2019? What you realize when you live here is that the bond of the locals gets stronger in face of adversity. This is especially true because we all recognize how rare and special it is to live in Malibu. The real estate market will be robust in 2019 because of the strength of this conviction. The ocean and the beaches are mesmerizing and they have not been affected by the fire. Malibu is such a unique real estate market catering to many different people from all over the world. The market

remains fluid as new people discover our desirable enclave. Although affected by the fire, our 21 miles of beauty will soon return. The estate market has been higher than ever in Malibu this past year and I expect that will continue in 2019. With the recent uncertainly in the stock market, I suspect there may be a transfer of funds from equities to real estate

How will the fire impact the rental market in Malibu? The rental market has been dominating the single family home real estate market in Malibu since the fire. There are approximately 220 homes for lease. The number of homes for sale has dropped drastically to a number lower than I ever remember seeing in my 29 year career here. As we approach the end of the year, there are less than 160 homes actively listed and 17 in escrow. Before the fire, we had about 235 homes for sale which seems to support the theory that a number of Sellers have shifted to MM becoming Landlords.

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ELLEN FRANCISCO One of Coldwell Bankers top agents, with over 36 years of experience in Malibu

I have been here since 1970 and lost a home in 1978 fire in the broadbeach area, so I have been through that process and have been through all the Malibu fires since then. How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? Malibu will build back and it will be better than ever. Surprisingly people have very short memories (those that were not here during the fire and immediately after) and when they come here in a couple of years they will see new homes, re-imerging landscape and the devastation that you see today will be gone. It has happened after evey fire. There will be a lull in the market, many homes that have been for sale are now going to be leased for one - two years to fill the demand for temporary housing. People are already calling about purchasing land where people are not going to re-build. Because this fire affected so many people and so many people who have lived here for many years, it is unknown how many people will re-build and how many people will sell their land after settling with the insurance company. When my husband

and I lost our home in 1978 we were in our 30’s and there was no question that we would rebuild, but many of those who lost their homes have been here for 40 - 55 years+ and may not have the stamina to re-build. it is not an easy process. What real estate trends do you foresee in 2019? There is so much going on (politically, fire aftermath) that we have yet to understand where the market will go in 2019, but Malibu is still and will always be a desirable place to be and people will always want to move here. For the same reason that many people will re-build, they don’t want to leave. It is our community and we love it. How will the fire impact the rental market in Malibu? It has already impacted the rental market. It is difficult to find homes for $15,000 and under, but there are alot of homes still available above that pricing. I fear some Landlords have gotten a bit too aggressive in their pricing. The rental market was somewhat soft prior to the fire, but obviously supply and demand has MM taken over.

MARCUS BECK A lifelong Malibu resident, Beck has over 30 years of industry experience.

To provide a little background on Malibu real estate, we break down sales by those on the beach (including bluff homes) and those off the beach (land side homes). Traditionally approximately 2/3 of our annual sales are homes not on the beach, and this is where we have had the largest loss of homes from the fire. In the short term, we have already seen a dramatic increase in the number of homes for Lease and it is premature to know the effect on sales. From personal experience, I had a property in Escrow prior to the fire with all contingencies removed for the purchase; however, with the adjacent home being lost in the fire, the buyer wanted to re-inspect the property including air quality sampling. It is obviously a very emotional time for those who lost their homes, but it also impacts those whose homes survived along with potential buyers. In the long run, Malibu is an extremely desirable international destination and will continue to be so. I anticipate a decrease in sales volume in the next year, and possibly a small decrease in average sales price across the board. However, as the community heals, and progress begins with the

clean-up and re-development of the impacted communities, I foresee an upward adjustment of average sales prices for homes. What I think are more relevant long-range questions are: 1) What percentage of those who lost their homes will rebuild in the next 2 to 4 years? And, 2) How many new homes may hit the market, and how many vacant lots may become available? Over the next 2 to 5 years, these two questions may influence the average sales price in Malibu, and you could argue for values going in either direction. My hope is the re-development with newer homes will have a positive impact for Malibu overall. As a side note, we have had many years with increasing real estate values and recognize real estate goes in cycles. The opinion given is solely on how the Woolsey Fire may impact values in the sort and long term, and does not take into account current markets trends, national and international economies, and how those impact the overall real MM estate market.

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SHEN SCHULZ Born and raised in Malibu, Schulz consistently ranks at the top 1% of Sotheby’s

How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? In the short term it’s absolutely horrible, many residents will be under insured and be forced to vacate their properties and not be able to rebuild. The City may not be organized to handle the massive influx of permit applications or able to expedite the permitting process as quickly as residents need them to casting residents to be out of their homes for 2-3 years. In the long term, I predict the entire community will become further gentrified with new homes, costing more than ever before and raising the general value of real estate throughout all the burned neighborhoods and the Malibu community. What real estate trends do you foresee in 2019? In 2019 I predict prices to continue to increase with some slowing in number of sales, as prices rise number of unit sales tend to slow. How will the fire impact the rental market in Malibu? The rental market has been flooded with fire victims seeking housing and insurance companies paying the relocation bills. The experience has

been terrible for most, high competition for any decent housing and many stressed out and anxious residents who lost their homes. Hopefully, the experience will mellow in time. Is there anything else you would like to add? In the near term, there will be many developers and fund groups looking to buy vacant land for the burned home areas from residents they presume may be under insured and need to sell their vacant land after finding their insurance coverage may not be enough to replace their home. It’s a very sad situation for all of Malibu, a few developers will become very rich in the process and many residents will never be able to return. In a few years we will see new homes in the affected areas which may enhance the curb appeal and also increase prices in these neighborhoods just like what happened to the LaCosta area in the 1993 fires. MM

KATHY ELLIS Ellis is a member of Coldwell Banker’s Int’l President’s Elite.

How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? There may be a short term pull-back of sales in the areas most badly burned. Some people will rebuild while others will sell their lots or hold onto them leaving them vacant. We still see some vacant lots in other areas of Malibu from previous fires. In the long run I believe there will be newer more modern homes that will replace the older homes that burned. The newer homes may or may not be larger than the homes that were lost, but will most certainly be more modern and luxurious. I believe this will cause prices to go up. Malibu is one of the most valuable and sought after places to own property in the world. I don’t believe this will ever change. Since the inventory of available homes is now lower, this will also have an affect on those homes that are still here by making them more valuable. People from everywhere will still want to live here or to have a second home here. The beauty of Malibu will return in time and people have short memories. The fire will not ruin the value of property here.

What real estate trends do you foresee in 2019? The market has been going up now from 2010 through 2018. I believe we will begin to see a slowdown in home appreciation and may begin to see a softening of prices. I don’t believe this will be due to the fire, but this trend is happening around the country. The beginning of the decline will take place in 2019 in our market even if it is evidenced only by longer times on the market and more price adjustments by sellers. How will the fire impact the rental market in Malibu? The fire has inspired more homeowners to put their homes on the market for rent. There are laws governing how much a landlord can charge above and beyond a normal rent price for their home. However many Malibu residents are choosing to live in other places while they’re renting--Pacific Palisades, Westlake Village, even the Hollywood Hills! Is there anything else you would like to add? We are a resilient community and will get through this horrendous crisis together! MM

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ERIC HASKELL The Agency’s luxury agent with a background in design and tech.

How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? Short term it typically takes a small beat after a natural disaster, I grew up in Santa Barbara and went through it a lot with fires. A lot of people are trying to figure it out. Find out the permitting process, will things be expedited, insurance. In the long term Malibu is one of the most amazing places on the planet to live. The people are resilient, smart and have eachothers backs. In 5 years all those homes will be new gorgeous builds, certain neighborhoods will blossom. new plants will emerge. It will be better than ever. What real estate trends do you foresee in 2019? Great locations and homes will always be in demand. The mediocre doesn’t have the fire it did. But if you can buy a home and live in Malibu you do it. How will the fire impact the rental market in Malibu? The rental market is crazy. I’ve been working with dozens of friends working on placing them. Loss of use on most Insurance policies allow you to live in a similar home capped at a certain amount total. Often

the rents are very high but you are entitled to a like home. Is there anything else you would like to add? I had a chance to come in to Malibu by boat and help right after the fire. People were saving each others homes, bringing each other supplies. The people are amazing and resilient. This community is truly inspiring. Our dear friend saved our home. We are forever in debt. I feel like the community is closer than ever through this and in time it will just get better. Our community is like MM one big family.

TOM CLEMENTS Clements counts over 35 years of experience in both sales and investments.

Over 400 homes were destroyed in the Malibu City Limits and another 250 in the unincorporated L.A County Malibu area. Losses here have been estimated at over $1.6 Billion, although I think that estimate will turn out to be low. The Malibu Park area suffered the greatest concentrated destruction with over 160 homes lost. In the short term, I foresee home prices dropping as much as 5 or 10%. This is especially true for the areas that have the most visible fire damage.People in Malibu are still in shock and will take some time to adjust. I also expect the number of sales to decrease in the short term from Malibu residents as well as from potential national and international buyers. The fear factor. But in the long term I see a much different scenario. As time goes by, and the hills return to green, and the destroyed homes and lots are cleared and re-seeded, we will see a resurgence of interest in Malibu Real Estate with corresponding increase in prices and number of sales. Malibu is a world class destination, and has been, and will continue to be, one of the most desirable places to live.

Natural beauty, mountains, ocean, and great weather.This, coupled with the basic law of limited supply and increased demand, will launch the value of existing Malibu homes (including newly rebuilt) to a new level. In other words, Malibu Real Estate will be considerably more expensive in the longer term. For 2019 I see a slowing and downward price pressure on Malibu homes in the first part of the year. But later on in 2019 as the visual effects of the fire fade, and Malibu’s natural beauty re-emerges, the prices will start an upward trend. And we will see the number of transactions slowly to increase. We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of homes and condos listed for rent since the fire. Many owners are seeing a possible windfall from all the families displaced and needing places to live, so have added their properties to the rental market. Many of them have dramatically increased their asking prices, believing the insurance companies will pay exorbitant rental rates. But I expect that trend to moderate MM as the months go by.

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How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? I believe that until the homes that were lost are being rebuilt, it will be all about supply and demand. For the most part, sale prices will remain strong because Malibu is a sought after location and people still want to be in Malibu. I think the majority of people understand homes will get rebuilt. What real estate trends do you foresee in 2019? Of course, it will take time but 2019 will be a year of rebuilding and staying strong as a City. Some homeowner’s who for various reasons don’t want to rebuild, will sell their lots with plans and permits. I believe there will be demand for these types of sales. Other homeowners will not leave our beautiful coastal city and wait it out. How will the fire impact the rental market in Malibu? The rental market has been and will continue, at least for a few years, to be extremely strong because insurance companies are paying extremely high amounts for displaced people. On top of that, there is simply

WENDY CARROLL

SEAN LANDON

A WEA realtor with extensive experience in Malibu and across the country.

Luxury Real estate specialist born and raised in Malibu.

not enough inventory to place people so the demand is extremely high. I’m seeing some exorbitant prices for rental homes. If you have second or third homes and not using them you’ll be surprised what you can get if you chose to rent them out. Do you think there is anything else the City should do to help residents rebuild? The City could hire more plan checkers, perhaps as part time employees so the plans can get processed faster. MM

How do you foresee the Woolsey Fire affecting the Malibu real estate market in the long term? Short term? I believe the unfortunate devastation caused by the Woolsey Fire will have mostly negative effects on the Malibu real estate market in both the short and long term. However, as time goes on the beauty, brand and community of Malibu will carry us through and Malibu’s real estate will continue to appreciate as it always has. In the short term we will see an inundation of rental properties on the market due to the circumstances in new demand from those displaced from their homes. This could be a positive for many landlords financially, but hopefully they will be considerate with prices especially if they are first time renters. We will see some inflated prices but there are laws in place to prohibit price gouging so this is something that is being remedied now. I also believe that with the trauma of the fire fresh on people’s minds combined with the fear of health hazards, financial limitations etc. are causing some to move out of Malibu all together. For most though, this will likely just be during the duration of their lease while their homes are being

rebuilt. Malibu residents are tough, resilient and I believe entirely committed to staying in this beautiful community. In the long term , I foresee some other obstacles this fire has created. One being the fear of buyers -especially that are new to Malibu- and their uncertainty of whether a tragedy like this will happen again and the other being the reality that in some areas that were heavily hit by this fire, people will be forced to live next to years of ongoing construction and the negative aspects that creates. There will be opportunities that will present themselves for buyers in due time, however this will most likely come from the misfortune of others. Some who have lost their homes will not be able to rebuild and will most likely be forced to sell their land at a discount. Overall, Malibu is a strong city with extremely loyal residents. As the terrain heals itself and life continues on, the brand of Malibu will hold and continue to prosper and eventually the Woolsey fire will just be a horrible memory to those that lived through it. MM

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Can I Build a Fire Resistant Home? Many residents who lost their homes in the recent fire are now faced with the question of how to build a more fire resistant home. Malibu Magazine spoke with building professionals Scott Harris, Doug Burdge and John Johannessen to get some answers. ✎ written by Barbara Burke  photographed by Julie Wuellner

M

ake your home in Malibu, and you eventually will face the flames.” That phrase from Mike Davis’ 1995 book, “Ecology of Fear,” aptly foretells the inevitability of fires besieging Malibu. “They’re almost perfect fires along the oceanfront of the Santa Monica Mountains because the deep canyons align exactly with the prevailing Santa Ana winds that occur every autumn - the mixture of coastal sage and chaparral inland tends to burn,” Davis said in an interview on National Public Radio days after the Woolsey Fire devastated Malibu and nearby communities and canyons. “Malibu has had nine major fires since the 1950s.” As Malibuites begin the arduous process of rebuilding, Malibu Magazine sat down with three building professionals with extensive building experience - Scott Harris, a building contractor with Building Construction Group, Doug Burdge, an architect with Burdge & Associates Architects, who has designed many Malibu homes, and John Johannessen, a general contractor with Johannessen Homes. Ron Boyd, owner of Sunflower Organic Garden Service and Linda Gibbs of the Malibu Agricultural Society also

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chatted about the importance of proper entirely with a closed-cell foam insulation such as Heikki Ketola, are considering landscaping in fire-affected areas. Here are that can prevent a fire from entering a constructing prefabricated homes that a few tips from the professionals. structure. are pre-wired with electrical systems and “We can rebuild Malibu so that struc“Use gypsum drywall such as Densglass™ plumbing and employ the latest fire-resistures are more fire-resistant,” Burdge said. and install one-hour fire drywall on each tant materials. “There are several vendors “We must do so in a wiser way by building side of a two-by four in one’s frame in addi- who offer prefabricated homes, including homes using technology smartly, and cre- tion to an exterior wall, as well as installing bluhomes.com and protohomes.com,” Keating defensible spaces around structures doors and windows that expand when heat tola said. “My understanding is that getting that have water features and proper land- is sensed.” Harris said. a pre-fabricated home often is better than scaping.” Malibu contractor John Johannessen building traditionally because they are facHarris is amazed that although commer- recommends using an exterior wildfire tory-made and they may be of higher qualcial buildings are built to withstand fires, defense system such as waveGUARD™ on ity because they are not constructed onmany times, residences site in conditions that can are not built be fire-reinclude wind and rain.” silient. “We all work in a Other pre-fabricated comfire-resistant commerpanies to explore include cial building, but sleep soli.space.com, plantin homes that are fully prefab.com and methodcombustible,” He said. “As homes.net. people rebuild, they need All the professionals to use the same materials Malibu Magazine talked used in commercial strucwith recommend ensuring tures and they need to enthere is defensible space sure there is absolutely no around structures and that wood on the outside of a all debris is cleared. building.” Ron Boyd, owner of SunHarris and Burdge recflower Organic Garden ommend building a home Services, suggests using so fire cannot enter. “Venmore grass and avoiding tilation systems, attics using wood chips. and underflow vents all Malibuite, Linda Gibbs BUILDING A FIRE RESISTANT HOME Homeowners, Ed and Rachlet fire in so build an airof the Malibu Agriculturelle Begley with Scott Harris on the site of their steel framed home. tight house,” Harris said. al Society emphasizes that “Choose specially-treated, fire-retardant roofs because such systems are unobtru- people must understand small water cycles closed-cell intumescent insulation, dry- sive, have self-contained water systems and and must garden employing permaculture wall panels that resist mold, mildew, mois- can be connected to a generator. and biodynamic techniques that build soil. ture and fire, and dual-insulated laminat“Such a system detects oncoming fire “I am convinced that the reason that ed glass - everything used in re-building, and sprays the roof with a mixture of water our recording studio did not burn to the from steel studs to two-by-fours to dou- and fire retardant,” Johannessen says. The ground is because of my gardening,” She ble-paned windows to exterior siding must system waters the roof for three minutes, said. “There is a rhizosphere around root be at least two-hour-fired rated. Such a rat- shuts down for twenty, and goes through systems that functions much like our large ing means occupants have two hours to exit such cycles ten times and there are various intestine and we should not disrupt it – I a structure before fire intrudes.” systems that can pump up to 44 gallons on recommend planting bioaccumulators and “Build methods of egress for every room, a roof per minute.” Harris agrees. “Create a perennials and densely planting - soil has such as putting in balconies off bedrooms.” micro-weather system that is full of humid- the capacity to hold three times its weight Harris recommended. “Everything matters ity and envelops a property to protect it as a in water, but only if it is full of organic matwhen you’re building to prevent fire from firestorm approaches,” He said. “We literal- ter.” intruding, even down to studs.” He recom- ly have the technology to have a homeownMalibuites are resilient and can rebuild. mends building one wall on the outside er sit on his couch and watch a fire go by, If they rebuild smarter, they will be more of a home with a two-by-six steel frame, just as one watches a snowstorm.” likely to avoid suffering the devastating MM encased by a two-inch air gap that is filled Some Malibuites who need to rebuild, effects of fires.

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Lessons From the Fire Malibu Magazine interviewed local architect, Doug Burdge, about what architects can learn from the Woolsey Fire and how to build a fire-resistant home.

1

What lessons can architects take from the Woolsey Fire? For years we have been talking about wildfire behavior and recommendations for building designs and construction methods. Wildfires are driven by terrain and weather. The fire didn’t burn Malibu so much as it’s topography did. Malibu is an environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA), meaning its plant and animal life plays an especially significant role in the ecosystem. Thus it’s that much more important to maintain that our animals, plants and their sensitive habitats remain as undisturbed by human activities as possible. In a lot of ways, this has been engrained in the culture of Malibu. It’s always felt of pivotal importance to save the wildlife and protect certain plants in the ecosystem around Malibu. However it’s become clear that we need defensible space around all of our buildings to save lives and structures. Fire-resistant vegetation for starters, and using non-combustible materials that are more fire resistant. Embers enter through vents of a home in unsealed areas. If your home or building is designed to be more fire resistant, the better chance you have of your property surviving a brutal fire.

2

Are there any simple ways Malibu homeowners can make their existing homes more fireproof? The simplest fix would be to install more fire-resistant roofing. Make better fire resistance roofing choices. Generally that means metal. Also build siding with more fire-resistant materials, such as concrete.

3

For those rebuilding their homes or building for the first time in Malibu, what are some effective fireproofing elements that can be introduced in the initial design phase? Property owners can choose to build to minimum standards and regulations, or those in fire prone areas can choose to exceed these standards to better protect their homes. If you’re in a high-fire area, look out for fire-retardant materials that are designed to burn slowly if they burn at all.

4 DOUG BURDGE Local architect, Doug Burdge has designed and built over 200 high-end estates throughout Malibu. Burdge is an award winning architect who aside from residential design is also well known for designing the Trancas Country Market, the Native Hotel as well as co-designed The Surfrider Hotel.

We’ve heard that certain popular design elements like glass windows can prove to be a fire hazard. Is that true? Not necessarily as you can purchase fire resistant glass. It’s a duel-paned window that also saves quite a bit of energy. You can also buy tempered glass with wire reinforcements. Doors can also be built to be fire resistant and steel framing gives you the overall best protection for fires.

5

Do you think Woolsey Fire victims are facing a longer rebuilding process in light of how many people will be applying for construction/reconstruction permits? Since the fire, the City of Malibu has really stepped up its efforts for this community. They have hired additional support to help with the permitting process and plan on pushing these permits through, as there are so many people in MM need of building services.

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THE REBUILDING PROCESS

What You Should Know About Title 24 If your home was built prior to 1978, chances are it’s not up to par with today’s energy codes. Here’s what you should know if you are planning to rebuild. ✎ written by Malcolm McLellan

I

In an effort to introduce newer, more energy efficient building technologies the California Building Standards Commission created Title 24 back in 1978. This means that if your home was built before the introduction of Title 24, there’s a good chance it wasn’t built to the same energy standards that are currently in place. The codes are continuously updated and the new energy codes that will go into effect 1st January, 2020 are the designed reduce the energy expenditure of residential homes by 50% when compared to homes built under the 2016 code. Unfortunately, the cost of complying to these codes falls to the homeowner and its estimated that the immediate financial burden won’t be returned through savings in energy costs for over twenty years. How will Title 24 affect the rebuilding process? Title 24 can have a costly affect on the building process if your home was destroyed in the fire and your insurance policy does not have provisions in relation to upgrade to codes. A house that was built before 1978 is highly likely to not adhere to many of the codes in Title 24. If the homeowner is planning to rebuild then there will be additional construction costs that may not be supported by your insurance claim.

How do I achieve Compliance? There are two ways to prove compliance in the rebuilding process. The Prescriptive Method is a simpler approach that requires each part of the building process to meet the minimum energy requirement. This process is known to be costlier during the building of new homes due to the increase in construction cost. The Performance Method uses computer technology to calculate the energy budget, providing better accuracy and flexibility during the process. Ventilation Code As part of Title 24, all homes built must be equipped with mechanical full house ventilation. Unfortunately, mechanical ventilation is not a common system to have in older homes. There are three ways to approach meeting the Title 24 continuous outside air ventilation requirement: Exhaust ventilation, Supply ventilation, or Combination ventilation. Roofing Roofing products with high solar reflectance and thermal emittance known as “Cool Roofs” are a prescriptive requirement in the building process. These building materials are used to reflect heat at a higher rate which results in lessening the load of buildings air conditioning and reducing energy usage.

Radiant barriers must also be installed beneath the roof deck. Windows Windows in your home can make up for half of your heating and cooling costs. There are specific requirements your windows will need to meet which can be found through NFRC’s Certified Product Directory or from the California Energy Commission approved default tables. The installation of shutters is one of the simplest methods to achieving compliance. Shading from the landscape of your home, such as tall trees or the shade from adjacent homes is not taken into account. Compliance is strictly based on the design of your home What else does Title 24 have codes for: The 2019 Energy Code has over 40 forms that need to be submitted to comply with their codes and as a result can slow the construction process. Other parts of the building process that are addressed in Title 24 are as follows: Electric Power, Outdoor Lighting, Indoor Lighting, Solar Ready (designed to accommodate a solar installation), Commissioning, Covered Processes, Mechanical, Water Heating To find more info, go to: www.energy. ca.gov/title24/

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REAL ESTATE

THE REBUILDING PROCESS

How To Properly Clean Up Toxic Waste Malibu Magazine interviewed experts in catastrophe consultation and reconstruction management, Ken Kosloff and Bill Weber about what steps to take to make sure the toxic waste on your property is properly removed. ✎ written by Malcolm McLellan

T

he proper cleanup after a fire is an essential step in the rebuilding process. If your home catches fire toxic matter will burn, from building materials, to cars to household products that contain harmful chemicals. In the fire’s wake, this toxic waste remains, and homeowners who fail to properly remove this debris invite a litany of potential concerns, from health and environmental threats to legal ramifications down the road. To help navigate through the cleanup process, Malibu Magazine sat down with Senior Construction Consultant Ken Kosloff and Senior Consultant Bill Weber of Richard Avelar & Associates, an Oakland-based design and construction firm specializing in catastrophe and large loss consultation and reconstruction project management. “One thing a lot of people don’t know is that the owner of a home owns their toxic debris for life in perpetuity,” said Kosloff. “ If the cleanup isn’t handled properly then that can fall back on the homeowner.” As a result, Kosloff says it’s important homeowners do their homework when looking for a cleanup company. The company you choose should have a Hazardous Substance Removal Certificate, the special contractor’s license required for the removal of toxic debris. And before you let the cleanup company

onto your property, have your lawyer approve them. Taking these precautions to guarantee your company is vetted isn’t just for peace of mind: it can save you money. It isn’t rare for cleanup companies to take advantage of of unknowing customers to pad their bottom line. For example, it is common practice for contractors to be paid by the weight of the debris removal or by the truckload. As a result some companies have been known to remove more soil than is necessary to command a higher rate for the job (Weber and Kosloff advised that the common practice is removing only three inches of soil when toxins are present and then to retest FEMA also offers debris cleanup, an option many homeowners may want to take advantage of. However, Kosloff and Weber cautioned that with all the wildfires that have taken place in California in recent months, FEMA may not be taking the time to review and reference all the contractors they are hiring, which could put the homeowner at risk. FEMA has fired contractors in the past that were hired for the cleanup process after finding out that they were removing more soil than necessary. In all steps of the building process it is advisable that the homeowner is represented by an attorney or construction consultant in order to avoid a misstep in the process. While many people think toxic debris

cleanup is just for people who lost their whole home, Weber stressed how important it is for homes that were only partially burned to be thoroughly inspected as well. “If there is soot you can see, you need to think about the soot you can’t see,” he said. If soot is left in the foundation of the home it can lead to a number of financial costs. Soot combined with moisture creates acids that can start the corrosion process, Weber said. “If there is still soot in your wall’s interior, it will start to eat away at your electrical and plumbing.” However, homeowners whose properties were only partially burnt generally face a much easier road. “Cleanup of ash and soot from wildfire is one of the easier forms of cleanup,” Weber said. He advised that the best method for cleanup of ash is to vacuum debris with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums capable of trapping extremely small particles before proceeding to cleaning agents. Regardless if you suffered a partial or total burn, the toxic waste left on your property will have a national papertrail, making it that much more important you dispose of it correctly. The Environmental Protection Agency monitors hazardous waste through a system titled “cradle-tograve”. This program tracks waste from the moment it enters the site as a hazardous material to the eventual treatment or MM disposal of that material.

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o: 310.457.3995 | c: 310.579.5887 | chris@chriscortazzo.com | www.chriscortazzo.com | CalBRE# 01190363

6962 WILDLIFE ROAD 4 ACRE BLUFF COMPOUND

$65,200,000

33740 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY 6 BR | 8 BA | NEWLY-CONSTRUCTED

$48,500,000

BROAD BEACH ROAD $37,500,000 TWO ADJACENT OCEAN FRONT PARCELS

6970 WILDLIFE ROAD 5 BR | 7 BA | BLUFFTOP ESTATE

$25,950,000

23634 MALIBU COLONY ROAD 4 BD | 7 BA | OCEAN FRONT HOME

23556 MALIBU COLONY ROAD 4 BD | 4 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$16,750,000

$23,500,000

©2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.

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o: 310.457.3995 | c: 310.579.5887 | chris@chriscortazzo.com | www.chriscortazzo.com | CalBRE# 01190363

26524 LATIGO SHORE DRIVE 4 BR | 5 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$13,995,000

30966 BROAD BEACH ROAD 7 BR | 9 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$12,900,000

26820 MALIBU COVE COLONY DRIVE 5 BD | 6 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$10,950,000

27140 MALIBU COVE COLONY DRIVE 5 BR | 7 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$10,500,000

31636 SEA LEVEL DRIVE 4 BR | 4 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$8,995,000

31506 VICTORIA POINT ROAD 5 BR | 5 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$8,995,000

©2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.

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o: 310.457.3995 | c: 310.579.5887 | chris@chriscortazzo.com | www.chriscortazzo.com | CalBRE# 01190363

30385 MORNING VIEW DRIVE $8,950,000 APPROVED OCEAN VIEW ESTATE PROPERTY

32453 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY 7 BR | 12 BA | OCEAN VIEW ESTATE

$8,850,000

34305 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY $7,450,000 APPX. 20 ACRES W/ 180-DEGREE VIEWS

6172 BONSALL DRIVE $5,995,000 2 BR | 3 BA | GATED 1.5 ACRE PROPERTY

6368 SEA STAR DRIVE 6 BR | 6 BA | OCEAN VIEW HOME

2710 COUNTRY RIDGE ROAD $5,475,000 6 BD | 9 BA | NEARLY 12 ACRE EQUESTRIAN ESTATE

$5,850,000

©2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.

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363

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o: 310.457.3995 | c: 310.579.5887 | chris@chriscortazzo.com | www.chriscortazzo.com | CalBRE# 01190363

6415 MEADOWS COURT 6 BR | 7 BA | OCEAN VIEW ESTATE

$5,450,000

27589 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY $4,995,000 4 BR | 4BA | MEDITERRANEAN-STYLE HOME

2451 NALIN DR., LOS ANGELES $3,799,000 LARGE FLAT BEL AIR CANYON VIEW LOT

18908 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY 3 BR | 4 BA | OCEANFRONT HOME

$4,995,000

21569 PASEO SERRA $3,995,000 4 BD | 3 BA | PANORAMIC OCEAN VIEW HOME

6701 PORTSHEAD ROAD APX. 2.64 ACRES WITH BEACH RIGHTS

$3,750,000

©2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.

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o: 310.457.3995 | c: 310.579.5887 | chris@chriscortazzo.com | www.chriscortazzo.com | CalBRE# 01190363

677 SAN LORENZO STREET, SANTA MONICA $3,650,000 3 BR | 3 BA | REMODELED SINGLE STORY ARCHITECTURAL

31546 VICTORIA POINT ROAD TWO-VACANT OCEAN VIEW LOTS

1445 EL BOSQUE COURT, PACIFIC PALISADES ONE-OF-A-KIND APPX. 2 1/3 ACRE LOT

$3,450,000

449 WESTBOURNE DRIVE, WEST HOLLYWOOD $2,995,000 4 BR | 4 BA | TWO-STORY PRIVATE GATED HOME

11770 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY #U $2,695,000 3 BR | 4 BA | BEACH KEY ACCESS TO 2 SANDY BEACHES

0 ENCINAL CANYON $1,495,000 APPX. 42 ACRE OCEAN & MOUNTAIN VIEW PROPERTY

$3,495,000

©2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.

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anker, the square gh perso-

o: 310.457.3995 | c: 310.579.5887 | chris@chriscortazzo.com | www.chriscortazzo.com | CalBRE# 01190363

26668 SEAGULL WAY, #D101 $1,000,000 1 BR | 1 BA | TWO-STORY OCEAN FRONT ROW CONDO

0 BALLER ROAD APPX. 73.4 ACRES W/OCEANS VIEWS

$895,000

4600 VIA VIENTA STREET APPX. 2 ACRES W/ OCEAN VIEWS

27835 BORNA DRIVE THREE PARCELS W/OCEAN VIEWS

$635,000

$850,000

23660 MALIBU COLONY ROAD $150,000/MONTH 5 BR | 7 BA | THREE-STORY OCEAN FRONTAGE HOME

24434 MALIBU ROAD $150,000/MONTH 5 BR | 6 BA | ARCHITECTURAL W/ 128’ BEACH FRONTAGE

©2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.

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o: 310.457.3995 | c: 310.579.5887 | chris@chriscortazzo.com | www.chriscortazzo.com | CalBRE# 01190363

23314 MALIBU COLONY ROAD $100,000/MONTH 5 BR | 5 BA | BEACH HOUSE W/ 48’ FRONTAGE

23816 MALIBU ROAD $100,000/MONTH 3 BR | 4 BA | ELEGANT BEACH HOUSE

27348 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY $85,000/MONTH 4 BR | 4 BA | GORGEOUS OCEANFRONT HOME

23556 MALIBU COLONY ROAD $75,000/MONTH 4 BR | 4 BA | STUNNING BEACH HOUSE

24572 MALIBU ROAD $65,000/MONTH 3 BR | 4 BA | BEACH HOME W/ 81’ FRONTAGE

23530 MALIBU COLONY ROAD $50,000/MONTH 4 BR | 5 BA | GUARD GATED BEACH HOUSE

28899 CLIFFSIDE DRIVE $45,000/MONTH 6 BR | 5 BA | BEACH RIGHTS ESTATE

1 W CENTURY DR. #35A, LOS ANGELES $43,000/MO. 4 BR | 6 BA | JUST REMODELED STUNNING CONDO

29075 GRAYFOX STREET $40,000/MONTH 5 BR | 7 BA | 1.6 PRIVATE ACRES W/ BEACH KEY

6368 SEA STAR DRIVE $40,000/MONTH 6 BR | 6 BA | OCEAN VIEW HOME

23618 MALIBU COLONY ROAD $39,500/MONTH 4 BR | 5 BA | BEAUTIFUL OCEANFRONT HOME

1 W CENTURY DR. #35B, LOS ANGELES $37,000/MONTH 3 BR | 5 BA | JUST REMODELED STUNNING CONDO

31506 VICTORIA POINT ROAD $28,000/MONTH 5 BR | 5 BA | STUNNING OCEANFRONT HOME

31569 SEA LEVEL DRIVE $19,995/MONTH 4 BR | 4 BA | OCEAN VIEW HOME

6345 TANTALUS DRIVE $59,000/MONTH 6 BR | 8 BA | OCEAN VIEW HOME

27082 MALIBU COVE COLONY DR. $29,995/MO. 4 BR | 5 BA | CONTEMPORARY OCEANFRONT HOME

22048 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY $29,500/MONTH 4 BR | 5 BA | STUNNING MALIBU BEACH HOUSE

28870 HAMPTON PLACE $25,000/MONTH 4 BR | 3 BA | BEAUTIFUL POINT DUME HOME

1710 SAN REMO DR., PACIFIC PALISADES $24,995/MO. 5 BR | 6 BA | RETREAT HOME W/ INCREDIBLE VIEWS

6770 LAS OLAS WAY $9,500/MONTH 2 BR | 3 BA | OCEAN VIEW CONDO

21613 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY $7,500/MONTH 3 BR | 3 BA | CHARMING LA COSTA AREA HOME

©2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker Logo, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.

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VAN PARYS ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Van Parys Architecture + Design is a boutique Architecture + Interior Design Firm in Westlake Village specializing in new construction and major renovation projects as well as interior design including furniture and decor. Founded in 2011 by Architects and Interior Designers, Michael and Rosa Van Parys, VPA+D focuses on creative design solutions for our clients specific needs. Our highly trained team brings an elevated level of quality and dedication to each project and is committed to the whole process from concept to implementation. Our projects span the entire Greater Los Angeles area + beyond.

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31824 Seafield Dr.

For Sale and For Lease Please Inquire for Pricing

Breathtaking ocean views can be enjoyed from nearly every room in this entirely re-imagined ocean bluff property with a rare attached additional parcel. Designed to perfection by the acclaimed Doug Burdge and built by the renowned Scott Halley, no expense was spared in the development of this one-of-a-kind property. Infused with the finest amenities, this modern masterpiece rests perfectly on a large private lot with stair access to the best beach in Malibu. The incredible top floor master suite has stunning

Sean Landon | Malibu Real Estate Specialist (310) 926-4028 | seanlandonestates@gmail.com

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5 Bed/6 Bath 6,904 Sq. Ft.

coastline views from the bed and bath, a massive walk-in closet and a large infrared sauna. The chef’s kitchen has all the high-end amenities one needs with stair access off of the deck to the garden below. On the bottom floor, you have a game/media room with a Subzero wet bar, a huge connoisseur wine cellar, humidor and two more guest beds. Outside, the Zen garden and gazebo provide a perfect yoga spot with a large Koi pond and outside shower upon your return from the beach.

www.seanlandonestates.com

1/4/19 15:45


23401 Malibu Colony Rd.

For Sale and For Lease Please Inquire for Pricing

A 5 Bedroom Modern Masterpiece located in the secure Malibu Colony gated beach front community with 360 degree Roof Top Views. Brand new construction and prime location accompanied with unparalleled Secure & Eco-Friendly design with private beach access and deck. This Vanessa Alexander design collaboration with the owners art collection was built to suit any generation’s needs. This compound is equipped with a Crestron alarm system, Universal Control4 access, 3 car garage +5 guests, large

Sean Landon | Malibu Real Estate Specialist (310) 926-4028 | seanlandonestates@gmail.com

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5 Bed/6 Bath 6,326 Sq. Ft.

fitness area, private surf breaks, and 24 hour security. The Mid-Century designer furniture throughout the property is accompanied by heated lounge areas, large glass sliders, chlorine free pool/spa and a large outdoor fireplace. The spacious Master Bedroom has a sleek and romantic feel, large walk-in closet and incredible views. In addition, there are 4 exceptionally styled guest bedrooms sleeping 12 total, including two that have a separate and private access. Modern Beach Front luxury at its best.

www.seanlandonestates.com

1/4/19 15:45


AT HOME WITH

SUSAN MONUS Malibu Magazine sat down with one of Coldwell Banker’s Legacy Elite, Susan Monus, to discuss the Malibu real estate market in the wake of the Woolsey Fire.

I

n the wake of the devastating fire, at a time when the lives and homes of so many have been affected, Malibu Magazine sat down with one of Coldwell Banker’s Legacy Elite, Susan Monus, to get an understanding of where and how she’s applying her nearly three decades of Malibu real estate experience and expertise to help her fellow Malibu residents rebound and rebuild. Susan received the distinction of being Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s 4th ranked agent nationally for Lease Production in 2017; she was recognized as Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Top 10 agents on the westside in November 2018 and she has closed an impressive 69 Million in sales to date in 2018 with another home currently in escrow. With the advantage of twenty-nine years of local experience and insight at her fingertips and the knowledge gained from having sold approximately four hundred Malibu homes, Susan appears to do it all effortlessly. Consistently ranked in the top 1% internationally, Susan proudly represents Malibu and her clientele with a level of excellence and authority one only obtains from loving what they do and appreciating where they do it. As the

community she loves and the clients she caters to, look for answers in the aftermath of the Woolsey fire, Susan is not just uniquely positioned to help but more importantly, grateful to do so. HOW ARE YOU HELPING CLIENTS THROUGH THIS CHALLENGING TIME IN OUR COMMUNITY?

Most immediately and importantly, I’ve been able to help people who lost or were displaced from their homes move into short and long term leases so that their lives can return to some degree of normalcy. Fortunately, I have always been active in both the lease and sale market in Malibu. With an amazing portfolio of beach and landside properties, I was in an immediate position to assist and the phone started to ring. I am grateful for everyone that I was able to place in a home. I look forward to helping more people get settled with each new lease listing I put on the market. HOW HAS YOUR NEARLY THREE DECADES OF MALIBU REAL ESTATE EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR THIS?

Since coming to Malibu in January 1990 to live on Point Dume with my then boyfriend and now dear husband, Fred,

I’ve seen and experienced any number of natural disasters from fires to mudslides to earthquakes. Each took its toll and had its costs to be sure but what has always outweighed the risks, is the sheer beauty of Malibu and the resiliency of our exceptional residents. As a realtor, local knowledge and relationships are invaluable. That knowledge and those relationships have a way of growing together both over time and through natural disasters like this one. I am here to help however I can. HAVE YOU SOLD ANYTHING SINCE THE FIRE?

As a matter of fact, I listed a property since the fire and currently have it in escrow. I have other buyers that are actively looking for properties. These are all great signs. WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR MALIBU IN 2019?

People make major life decisions over the holidays because they have time to spend discussing their goals and dreams. This year more than ever there will be some soul searching. Adversity has a way of creating a spotlight and I expect there may be more interest in Malibu than ever MM before. I hope to see you here!

The not Ban serv

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Sophistication on Colony Beach $28 000 000

Ocean View Estate Living $5 500 000

Point Dume Hideaway $3 500 000

SUSAN

MONUS

( 3 1 0 ) 5 8 9 - 2 47 7 SUSAN@SUSANMONUS.COM | WWW.SUSANMONUS.COM | @MALIBUHOMES | CALRE# 00827409 LUXURY PROPERTY SPECIALIST | COLDWELL BANKER RESIDENTIAL BROKERAGE

Thepropertyinformationhereinisderivedfromvarioussourcesthatmayinclude,butnotbelimitedto,countyrecordsandtheMultipleListingService,anditmayincludeapproximations.Althoughtheinformationisbelievedtobeaccurate,itisnotwarrantedandyoushould notrelyuponitwithoutpersonalverification.RealestateagentsaffiliatedwithColdwellBankerResidentialBrokerageareindependentcontractoragentsandarenotemployeesoftheCompany.©2018ColdwellBankerResidentialBrokerage.AllRightsReserved.Coldwell BankerResidentialBrokeragefullysupportstheprinciplesoftheFairHousingActandtheEqualOpportunityAct.OwnedbyasubsidiaryofNRTLLC.ColdwellBanker,theColdwellBankerLogo,ColdwellBankerGlobalLuxuryandtheColdwellBankerGlobalLuxurylogo MALIBU MAGAZINE service marks are registered or pending registrations owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

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IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE RECEIVING MALIBU MAG, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE! Malibu Magazine is the leading magazine in our community. It comes out six times per year. Every issue has about 200 pages filled with great photos, news and the most interesting people of Malibu.

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MALIBU MALIBU MALIBU www.malibumag.com

THE PCH REPORT

Can Our Highway Be Fixed? FIRST LOOK Malibu’s New Downtown SUMMER

Make the most of the Pacific HIKE

MAGAZINE EAT YOUR DRINK

Inside Malibu’s Inventive New Cocktail Restaurant

POKE

The Best Bowls Around Malibu MATTHEW BIANCANIELLO On foraging in Malibu, his parmesan vermouth and opening Mon Li

Mystical Stone Labyrinth AUGUST 2018

$ 5.95 US

SANTA MONICA + BEVERLY HILLS + CALABASAS + WESTLAKE VILLAGE

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FUTURIST SCHOOL

A Look Inside Oaks Christian’s IDEA Lab FALL GUIDE

Activities For The Best Fall Yet MALIBU’S VISIONARY ARCHITECT

Doug Burdge

MAGAZINE THE PCH REPORT

How to Fix Malibu’s Traffic Nightmare FASHION

Bundle Up With Naked Cashmere FOOD

Reader Favorite Fall Recipe

OCTOBER 2018

$ 5.95 US

SANTA MONICA + BEVERLY HILLS + CALABASAS + WESTLAKE VILLAGE

MAGAZINE

SPECIAL REPORT

How Safe Is Malibu?

BLACKOUT

Why Malibu Frequently Loses Power FIRST LOOK Icon Fred Segal Returns To Cross Creek THE BUILDER

Scott Gillen

ROUNDUP

Must-Try Dishes Around Town

HOLIDAYS The Ultimate Bucket List SHOPPING Holiday Gifts around Malibu

DECEMBER 2018

$ 5.95 US

SANTA MONICA + BEVERLY HILLS + CALABASAS + WESTLAKE VILLAGE

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Profile for Malibu Magazine

January/February 2019  

January/February 2019