The Santa Monica Mountains area as well as Los Angeles and Ventura counties were under a Red Flag Warning on Monday, Oct. 23. A warning indicated increased wildfire danger in the area. In the Santa Monica Mountains, the Red Flag Warning was expected to be in effect until Wednesday, Oct. 25, while warnings for other parts of Los Angeles and Ventura County lasted through Tuesday, Oct. 24.
“A moderate to locally strong Santa Ana wind event will bring windy, hot and very dry conditions through Wednesday to much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties,” a warning from the National Weather Service stated. “… Extreme fire behavior is likely if any fire ignition begins … the public should be very, very careful with any potential ignition sources.”
Alongside the Red Flag Warning were a Wind Advisory and Excessive Heat Warning.
Temperatures fluctuated around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, according to The Weather Channel. Wind gusts were expected to reach 40 to 60 miles per hour over much of Ventura and Los Angeles counties through Wednesday.
The Santa Monica-Malibu School District sent out a district-wide email informing parents and caregivers that they had the option to pick up their students at any time Tuesday, Oct. 24, due to the extreme wind and heat conditions. They were asked to check students out through the school office.
Following instructions from each campus’ principal, staff remained on campus. Students received an excused absence for any class time missed. A minimum day schedule (times vary by school; students usually get out of class between 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.) was implemented for Wednesday, Oct. 25.
SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati addressed the necessity of air condition installation throughout the campuses. While emphasis has been placed on the project, the district is still in the process of creating plans for the “multi-year process.” Drati assured parents that the board would be taking on the plans with “a sense of urgency” in the districtwide email.
At the Monday, Oct. 23, Malibu City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem and current Los Angeles County Fire Captain Rick Mullen informed those in attendance of the fire department’s plans: “In my fire department capacity, I’ve been a prisoner of the fire department [for] the last couple weeks. They’re super paranoid about anything having to do with fire and they’ve been staffing to a degree that I’ve never seen before and they don’t let anybody go home.”
He concluded by emphasizing the fire department has made a massive effort to be prepared in advance in the case of a wildfire.
Meanwhile, an alert from the City of Malibu advised residents to take precaution when going outside and to reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Those overcome by heat stroke were advised to call 911.
In the event of a wildfire, the alert went on to recommend that residents have a plan in place. It linked to the LA County Fire Department website (fire.lacounty.gov) for more information.
On the website, the department has tips for residents on everything from how to shut off gas during an emergency to dealing with hazardous waste materials in the home.
According to The Weather Channel, temperatures are expected to dip down to the high 60s next week.