Malibu marks fourth anniversary of Woolsey Fire, Borderline Shooting

Smoke rises over the hillside as residents prepare for evacuation orders on Nov. 9, 2018. Photo by Julie Ellerton.

As the fall season approaches, Malibu is reminded of two tragic historical events that changed the community. On Nov. 7, 2018, 12 people, including Pepperdine student Alaina Housley, were killed in a shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. The following day, Nov. 9, Malibu experienced the worst wildfire in Los Angeles County history, the Woolsey Fire. The Woolsey Fire destroyed nearly 500 homes in Malibu, took the lives of three people, and left the community traumatized. 

The Woolsey Fire broke out in Chatsworth on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, and reached Malibu early Friday morning. A mandatory evacuation was issued for all of Malibu on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. As of Nov. 22, 2018, the fire was 100 percent contained with 96,949 acres burned throughout the entire fire zone. 

“On the anniversary of the Woolsey Fire, the City commemorates the catastrophe, and offers support to all the people who lost homes and possessions, were displaced, and are still recovering,” a statement on the City of Malibu website reads. “The City renews its pledge to never stop working to help the community rebuild and recover, and never stop striving for community-wide wildfire preparedness and resiliency.”

As staff continues to work with homeowners to recover, the Woolsey Fire rebuild statistics are continuing to grow. To see updated statistics on the Fire Rebuild, visit the Rebuild Portal at

  • Single Family Dwellings building permits issued – 247
  • Single Family Dwellings complete – 105
  • Multifamily building permits issued – 18 units
  • Multifamily building units complete- 12 units 

The City Council also declared Nov. 9 as the City of Malibu’s Annual Day of Preparedness following the Woolsey Fire. This year, the City asks every homeowner, resident, business, employee, student, school, and organization in Malibu to take at least one step to be more prepared for wildfires.

Examples of steps you can take: make a wildfire emergency plan, gather emergency supplies, make an emergency plan for pets or horses, check in on elderly or disabled neighbors; sign up for emergency alerts, harden your home against flying embers, conduct brush clearance, get the free emergency survival guides from the city and LA County, sign up for a crisis first aid or other training, and maintain situational awareness by monitoring fire weather conditions on local news and on the National Weather Service website ( Learn more about wildfire preparedness on the Fire Safety webpage ( 

As the community continues to heal, the Pepperdine RISE program ( offers resources to support students in navigating mental and physical health difficulties in the midst of crisis. Students may also find support in navigating grief and loss through the Pepperdine Counseling Center or with any of the University chaplains.