Officials Say Fires are Just Getting Started

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    Authorities reacted quickly last week to extinguish two small brush fires that ignited in the Malibu area and experts say with extremely dry conditions the fires likely will not be the last.

    The fire last week in Malibu Canyon was the result of an overturned car while the spot fire in Corral Canyon is believed to have been started by a cigarette flicked from a car window. 

    Thanks to fire condition signs the public can be aware of the potential danger for fires breaking out. The danger levels are contingent upon the moisture content in fuel such as brush, shrubs, trees and grass.

    According to the LA County Fire Department website fuel moisture determines if certain fuels will burn, how quickly and completely they will burn and what phases of combustion the fuels will support.

    “The hillsides have been behaving like it is later in the year,” said Ins. Tony Akins of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “While it’s always fire season in Southern California, we believe we are reaching the apex of the season.”

    According to Ins. Akins, Malibu has traits that make it susceptible to fire danger.

    “The weather, topography and fuel in the area form a trifecta for fires to start,” Ins. Akins said.  

    The naturally growing vegetation such as chaparral, sage and chemise are fuels high in oil content and the infamous Santa Ana winds that blow through the canyons in Malibu have the potential to fan wildfires. The winds are a phenomenon that peak in through early November and usually last for a few days at a time, but they have been known to blow until March.

    In preparation for the fire season, the LACFD in partnership with the US Forest Service has monitored the fuel moisture levels daily and has been staffing certain agencies based upon the level of possible danger.

    Residents of fire prone areas like Malibu are advised to take the proper precautions in the effort to curb wildfires.

    “More than 90% of wildfires are human caused,” Ins. Akins said. “Folks should not mow their lawns on hot days and practice safe towing by not letting chains drag from vehicles.”

    For more information on how to prepare for wildfires visit: http://www.preventwildfireca.org