Teamwork wins fire battle


    Smoke filled the air and Malibuites monitored the mountains around them as the Trancas fire swept through West Malibu early last week, burning 749 acres, and damaging three homes and a car. The fire burned in the Trancas, Encinal and Decker canyons area.

    A home on Avenido de Encinal suffered 30 percent damage, while the other homes had minor damage from embers. Local residents Beverly and Wayne Estill had parked their car on Pacific Coast Highway near Broad Beach and walked to their home to retrieve personal belongings on Jan. 6. When they returned, they found their Dodge Durango had been “melted” on the passenger side. Beverly Estill said the inside of the SUV was intact and the driver’s side looked 100 percent fine. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it,” she said in a phone interview on Friday after the fire.

    Firefighters from as far as Monrovia and Sierra Madre as well as Compton, Pasadena, Glendale, Long Beach, Orange County and other Southland fire departments, and personnel from State Parks and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection worked around the clock from Monday morning, Jan. 6, until the next night fighting the fire, which was 100 percent contained by 6:30 p.m., Jan. 7. More than 1,000 firefighters were on duty at the fire’s peak, which was exacerbated by hot, dry 45-mph winds. Firefighters stayed through the week to complete mop-up operations and watch for hot spots.

    The night before the Trancas fire, on Jan. 5, two fires burned 15 acres in Corral and Latigo canyons, but were quickly extinguished by local firefighters.

    All photos, except the burnt car, were taken by photographer Josh Owens who works with the California State Parks Department.