City official: Malibu not under threat

8:30 p.m.: Pacific Coast Highway has been reopened between Mulholland Highway and Las Posas Road, although a threat of rockslides remains and California Highway Patrol is taking precautionary measures. 

“The hillside is subject to falling debris and rockslides as there is little vegetation,” a Caltrans release said. “The California Highway Patrol will escort vehicles through the area led by a Caltrans truck in order to review any active slides and stop traffic if necessary.”

Drivers should expect delays on PCH and consider taking the 101 highway as an alternate route. A geologist is scheduled to survey the area on Saturday to assess the hillside stability along PCH. 

6:50 p.m.: The Springs Fire has now scorched 28,000 acres of Ventura County and is 20 percent contained, according to Ventura County Fire Department.

Pacific Coast Highway was shut down quickly on Friday shortly after being reopened at 5 p.m. Authorities closed PCH between Yerba Buena and Las Posas Road over a fear of possible rockslides in the aftermath of a fire that’s torn though thousands of acres throughout Camarillo, Newbury Park and Point Mugu State Park along the Ventura coastline.

The focus of firefighting activities overnight will be in the Yerba Buena Rd. area where a concentrated attack will be focused,” a Facebook statement from Ventura County Fire said.


5:05 p.m.: Pacific Coast Highway has been fully reopened from Mulholland Highway to Las Posas Road, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

4:41 p.m.: Contrary to other reports, the Point Mugu State Park campground has not been burned down. Craig Sap, superintendent for California State Parks, said most of the campground was preserved, although some sycamore trees were lost or damaged in the fire and an estimated $8,000 worth of electrical work will be required to restore power. Several toilets were burned at the La Jolla campsite, he said. 

“On the downcoast side, we lost an unused area of trees, not significant amount,” Sap said. “Otherwise, in campground itself we did suffer some tree damage. Hopefully it won’t be an issue, the trees will regenerate or regrow from that.

“Otherwise, the campground came out okay, about 50 percent of the vegetation probably burned in one form or another. At La Jolla, a lot of the bathrooms did burn down, the flush toilets at the waterfall trail up from the ray miller trail. Other than that, the campground itself, I’m hoping to get someone in there to restore power, estimate about $8,000 worth of work will be done.”

4:24 p.m.: The Springs Fire has burned 18,000 acres and is 20 percent contained, according to the Ventura County Fire Department

4:15 p.m. A city spokesman said the fire situation is improving and “looks very much like we have nothing to fear in the City of Malibu.” Brad Davis, the city’s emergency services coordinator, said a report he had just received from county fire officials showed that the fire was confined to Ventura County and was not expected to touch Los Angeles County.

“At this point, we feel quietly confident that we do not anticipate any fire impinging the Malibu area,” Davis said. “Now that’s not to say the fire isn’t moving back on itself in the Ventura County area. But as far as the L.A. County area, it’s not touching any L.A. County land and it’s not expected to do so.”

Davis said the city was de-activating its emergency operations center, which is a communications center assembled in the Civic Center during crises. The city would continue to monitor the situation he said, but as of 4 p.m. he “did not feel the city was under any threat.”

Maria Grycan, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, confirmed that the fire was not expected to migrate to L.A. County.

“The fire right now continues to remain entirely in Ventura County,” Grycan said.


3:15 p.m.: The Springs Fire has led National Parks Service to close the popular Backbone hiking trail in the Santa Monica Mountains west of Encinal Canyon Road in western Malibu.

3 p.m.: The Malibu Vet Clinic in Point Dume is offering free temporary shelter for animals evacuated during the Springs Fire. 

Manager Evelien Lupo said the kennel has already taken in two small dogs from affected families since the fire sparked yesterday. 

“For boarding we can probably go up to 15 dogs or cats, and preferably smaller to medium size pets,” Lupo said. “But if it’s a bigger pet we can refer them to other places that would have larger dogs that can run around.”

The clinic closes at 6 p.m. Friday but can offer after-hours services in emergency situations. Saturday the clinic opens at 8 a.m.

The Malibu Animal Coast Hospital is also offering temporary shelter for animals affected by evacuations, according to hospital worker Andrea Winslow.

She estimated the hospital could take in 15 pets, depending on the size. 

1:47: Visibility on the 101 Freeway from the Moorpark exit going north is extremely poor due to billowing smoke and falling ash and embers, according to a Malibu Times employee. 

“You can hardly see on the freeway,” said Marilynn Arbetman, who exited the freeway at the Thousand Oaks mall due to the poor visibility. “The ashes are literally falling from the sky at the Thousand Oaks mall. You can’t even breathe, the air is bad for miles away.”

1:30 p.m.: The Springs Fire is now moving northeast away from the Malibu area and remains two miles away from the Los Angeles/Ventura County Line, according to Ventura County Fire spokesman Bill Nash. 

“The fire was moving southwest with an easterly influence earlier today, and then we developed a marine influence,” he said. “Now it’s basically pushing the fire right back where it came from [toward Camarillo].”

A drop in temperatures is also helping keep the raging fire in Ventura County, Nash said.

“Because of this marine influence the temperature will mitigate and so will humidity,” Nash said.

1:12 p.m.: The Los Angeles County Fire Department has personnel waiting in Malibu should the Springs Fire spread from the west, an official said. District 7 Fire Chief Anthony Whittle, who oversees Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains, confirmed two strike teams of 25 personnel each remain on call.

Firefighters are stationed throughout Malibu as well as the 101 Freeway corridor. 

Potential avenues for the fire include moving west along Pacific Coast Highway along the coast, or inland along the 101 freeway and down through the canyons. 

“The way the canyons are lined up, they’re not all the same. To answer your question, they’re actually both potential threats. The march along PCH would be slower. Although we saw a tremendous push along PCH [Thursday] night along Sycamore Canyon.”

Whittle confirmed that flames had been fanned in Hidden Valley in Ventura County within the last hour, but said he heard firefighters had the flare under control.

12:20 p.m.: The temperature in Camarillo has dropped 12 degrees in the last hour as a sea breeze advances inland and increases humidity, according to the National Weather Service. The Springs Fire sparked in Camarillo early Thursday morning, quickly spread to Newbury Park, Point Mugu State Park and down to the coastline. The Springs Fire has scorched 10,000 acres in nearly 18 hours.

The fire is 10 percent contained, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Pacific Coast Highway will remain closed indefinitely between Mulholland Highway and Las Posas Road, according to the California Highway Patrol

11 a.m.: Eastbound Mulholland Highway has been shut down at Decker Canyon Road, according KNX 1070.

Malibu High officials also announced the school wanted to keep its old gym open as an evacuation site, leading to the cancellation of all after-school events. The Boys and Girls Club will be open, but parents are being urged to pick up there students as soon as classes end.

We want to help support the fire-fighting effort by keeping cars off the roads as much as possible and to clear the campus so that it can be used as an evacuation center,” Principal Jerry Block wrote to the school community. 

9:30 a.m.: A middle school dance and junior varsity baseball game at Malibu High School that were scheduled to take place Friday have been canceled, school district officials announced.

Parents and students reported smelling smoke and light clouds lingering from the Springs Fire in the Malibu Park area where Malibu High campus is located.

“As a precaution, students’ outdoor activity at all Malibu schools has been reduced, and student activities for Friday evening at Malibu High School have been canceled,” Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District official Jerry Deloria said.

The school is hoping to reschedule the middle school dance but no decision has been made. Physical education classes scheduled after 12:30 p.m. are also cancelled, said Yvonne, a woman who works in the school’s attendance office. The junior varsity baseball team was scheduled to take on Santa Paula High School in Malibu. It’s unclear whether the game will be rescheduled. 

Do you smell or see smoke in Malibu from the Springs Fire? Email us about the air quality:

9 a.m.: A mobile command unit comprising two units from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s station has been set up at near the Malibu Courthouse, Sgt. Dan Nagelman said.

While the fire is moving slower this morning than originally projected and not an immediate threat to Malibu, Nagelman said a few units will be stationed in the Civic Center area in case anything escalates. The station will also be bringing in more units later in the day.

“Right now it’s just set up more for a precautionary measure and to get everything in place so that we’re not reactive if something happens,” he said. “We want to be proactive.”

Locals are free to stop in and check on the status of the Springs Fire in relation to Malibu.

“The command posts that we set up always have the most up to date information,” he said.

Nagelman said the department had been warned the Springs Fire could reach the county line near Mulholland Highway on Friday morning, but a shift in the weather has slowed the spread of flames south.

8:15 a.m.: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is considering setting up a mobile command post in Malibu’s Civic Center area, emergency services coordinator Brad Davis said.

The oversized mobile unit would be stationed near the library. Setting up a mobile unit is standard procedure, Davis said, even though the Springs Fire does not appear to pose an immediate threat to Malibu.

“It’s standard procedure, [the Sheriffs] like to have local control down here,” Davis said.

The Malibu/Lost Hills watch commander said the Sheriff’s Department was being briefed on the fire situation at 8:15 a.m. and a definitive decision had not been made.

Davis also said the Red Cross Emergency Evacuation Center at Malibu High School was still open.

“If Ventura has more evacuations… those people are gonna need someplace to go,” Davis said. “I’m thinking yeah, let’s keep that bad boy going.”

7:36 a.m.: Santa Ana winds are expected to die down around 2 p.m., the Ventura County Star reports, but onshore winds later in the day could send the fire back up inland. 

Ventura County Fire authorities said 4,000 homes are threatened by the Springs Fire, mostly in the Deer Creek Road and Yerba Buena area. More than 900 firefighters are battling the fire, which has consumed more than 10,000 acres and continues burning out of control. The fire is 10 percent contained.

7:26 a.m.: Malibu City Manager Jim Thorsen said schools in Malibu are operating normally. He was not sure whether the temporary evacuation site at Malibu High School would remain open. One person was at the shelter Thursday night.

Though the fire has not crossed the county line, Thorsen advised residents to make sure to be ready to evacuate.

“If it ever does happen, make sure you have all the essential things you need from your home and be monitoring for updates,” he said. Residents should also clear any potentially flammable brush spots, he advised.

Fire department officials said the Springs fire behaved erratically overnight on its southern flank in the Sycamore Canyon area, according to a 6:30 a.m. update from the Ventura County Star. 

The officials planned to resume air attacks after ground crews worked overnight. 

The Springs Fire that broke out early Thursday morning is still burning out of control Friday in Ventura County and pushing southwest toward the City of Malibu, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. 

VCFD spokesman Bill Nash estimates the fire is approximately 2 miles from the Ventura County line and “7 or 8” miles from Malibu city limits.

“Right now, the weather is pushing it that direction,” Nash said. 

Pacific Coast Highway remains shut down in both directions between Mulholland Highway near Leo Carrillo State Beach and Las Posas Road in Ventura County.

The flames have now pushed south past Deer Creek Road, where winds late Thursday night had helped stall the fire for about two hours.

“Firefighters spent the night protecting homes and cutting containment lines with hand tools and bulldozers,” the VCFD posted on Facebook at 5:05 a.m. 

With hot, dry weather forecasted once again for Friday, officials say the fight won’t be any easier as it enters its second day.

“It’ll be less windy,” Nash said. “But it’s safe to say this is a growing, out-of-control fire.”

The Springs Fire has burned more than 10,000 acres as of Friday. The flames are 10 percent contained.

Here’s the entire 5:05 a.m. update from the VCFD Facebook page: UPDATE –

“Firefighters were very busy overnight working to contain the fire that began yesterday morning near Camarillo Springs. The fire continues to burn out of control and firefighters spent the night protecting homes and cutting containment lines with hand tools and bulldozers. The air attack will resume shortly after sunrise. After the sun comes up, the fire will be reviewed and new numbers will be posted as soon as possible.”

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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