Two Blazes Erupt in Malibu Sunday

A helicopter drops fire retardant on the Rock / Rock Pool Fire at Malibu Creek State Park on Sunday, Aug. 16.

A fatal crash over the side of Malibu Canyon on Sunday night sparked a small brush fire—the second blaze to erupt in Malibu on Aug. 16—when the driver of a white Toyota pickup truck veered across a lane of oncoming traffic and over the side of the canyon about a mile north of Pacific Coast Highway.

At 8:16 p.m., emergency responders received a call of a vehicle going over the side of the canyon road, LA County Fire Department representative Leslie Lua told The Malibu Times.

“Our units responded to reports of a vehicle that went over a cliff; it was unknown how far down,” Lua said. “The vehicle ended up being over the cliff, over 300 feet down.

“There was initially no smoke or fire seen—and then at 8:34 there was a 200-by-200-feet brush fire at the bottom of the canyon running uphill,” Lua continued. According to the fire department representative, the fire was kept to less than an acre and was out by 8:51 p.m.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 18, the driver of the vehicle had not been identified, but LA County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner representative Sarah Ardelani said he was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The coroner’s examination was still pending as of Tuesday.

The collision report from California Highway Patrol stated the truck’s driver was “traveling southbound on Malibu Canyon Road” when, “for an unknown reason, the Toyota veered to the left, crossed the northbound lane and left the roadway onto a dirt shoulder and continued down a steep embankment. The vehicle traveled approximately 180 feet down the embankment and caught fire.”

No other vehicles were reportedly involved in the incident and there were no other fatalities or victims. California Highway Patrol was investigating the cause of the crash.

That fire occurred just hours after an earlier blaze at Malibu Creek State Park burned nearly 93 acres.

Named the Rock Fire by the LA County Fire Department and the Rock Pool Fire by the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the fire was first called in at the park at 1:21 p.m. on Sunday.

Campgrounds at Malibu Creek State Park were evacuated by 3:20 p.m., social media posts from the sheriff’s department stated. 

Wind at the time was recorded at about 10-12 miles per hour heading east, LACoFire Supervising Fire Dispatcher Cheryl Sims said. “The fire was running against Mulholland, uphill,” Sims described at the time, meaning it was not moving toward Malibu.

At 3:36 p.m., the fire department announced forward progress on the fire had been halted. 

There were no injuries reported due to the Rock/Rock Pool Fire and no structures were reported damaged, fire department personnel verified on Monday.


Genevieve Finn contributed to this report.