2020 Wildfire Season - Fire Conditions Outlook & Preparedness Information for Malibu
Malibu is in peak wildfire season, and the City has been conducting widespread outreach to help residents be prepared for wildfire. Dangerous, windy, dry conditions with Santa Ana winds are forecast, so we must all be prepared for potential power outages or wildfires necessitating evacuations. The City offers this fire weather information and preparedness tips.
FIRE CONDITIONS FORECAST
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued Red Flag Warning for most of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties from 6:00 PM on Wednesday, December 2, to 6:00 PM on Friday, December 4 along the coast, and through 6:00 PM on Saturday, December 5, for the Santa Monica Mountains due to a forecast moderate to strong Santa Ana wind event and very low humidities. There is a chance that Red Flag conditions will continue through early next week. Northeast winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph are expected in canyons and hills with strongest winds expected on Thursday. Relative humidity will be 5% to 15%. For more detailed fire weather forecasts, visit https://www.weather.gov/lox/..
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. If fire ignition occurs, conditions will be favorable for rapid fire spread, long range spotting, and extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property. Use extreme caution with potential fire ignition sources.
Residents should prepare for potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) and other power outages, wildfire and evacuations. Monitor NWS forecasts at https://www.weather.gov/lox and local news for updates, especially on AM and FM local radio, which can be received on solar, handcrank, battery powered and car radios if the power is out. Sign up for emergency and weather alerts from the City (scroll to Alert Center) and from LA County.
CURRENT LIVE FUEL MOISTURE
The City of Malibu tracks Live Fuel Moisture (LFM), an important part of maintaining situational awareness and determining critical fire danger and Red Flag Conditions. The November 24, 2020 LFM readings were at 60%, which is up slightly from the previous 56%, but still at the critical level of 60%. The Los Angeles County Fire Department conducts sampling every two weeks and posts the results on their website.
BE PREPARED FOR EVACUATIONS
All residents are encouraged to treat a Red Flag warning as the trigger to take action and prepare for a potential wildfire and evacuation. Move flammable material away from the house (patio cushions and furniture). Have a go bag and emergency supplies packed and ready, including important documents, prescription medications, and food, crate and medication for pets, and cellphone backup batteries. Make sure your car's gas tank is full. Check in with elderly or disabled family, friends and neighbors to see if they need assistance. People who own horses or other large animals, or are disabled, dependent on medical devices or otherwise mobility challenged, should consider leaving the area early. Make sure you are signed up for emergency alerts from the City and the County. Review your family emergency plan, including evacuation routes, reunification sites, and printed contacts in case you phone dies out. In the event of a Mass Evacuation in the City know your Evacuation Zone number. You can search for it by address, and see Evacuation Zone Maps and the City's Mass Evacuation Plan on the web page.
GET THE MALIBU EMERGENCY SURVIVAL GUIDE
The City of Malibu's free Emergency Survival Guide is available to download or print at www.malibucity.org/survivalguide. It is based on the County's Ready, Set, Go Guide and customized for Malibu with information to help you plan, prepare, and react during wildires, earthquakes, floods or other disasters. Request a printed copy, or multiple copies to distribute to your neighborhood or organization to pick up at Malibu City Hall by calling 310-456-2489, ext. 368 or emailing PublicSafety@MalibuCity.org.
BE PREPARED FOR PSPS AND OTHER POWER OUTAGES
When the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts critical fire weather conditions - high winds (Santa Anas) with high temperatures and low humidity - Southern California Edison (SCE) has, can and will proactively shut down power across large sections of Malibu in order to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires. SCE crews must first inspect all electrical equipment (transformers, power poles, etc.) to ensure power can be safely restored, which can take 24 to 72 hours.
Any time SCE is considering a PSPS, it strives to notify Malibu, other public agencies, and customers at least 48 hours in advance, and again 24 hours in advance. See the circuit maps to know what circuit you live in. Be sure to sign up to receive power outage alerts from Southern California Edison (SCE).
If a PSPS is being considered, the City will send out emergency messaging to alert the community, and if a PSPS takes place, the City will post the information on emergency alerts, the website, social media, the phone hotline and PSAs on KBU 99.1 FM radio. The City Hall phone line (310-456-2489) will be staffed 24 hours/day.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A POWER OUTAGE LASTING FOR HOURS OR DAYS
Have battery-operated or solar-powered lights, emergency cash, keep your vehicle fuel tank filled, have non-perishable dry and canned food, keep the refrigerator closed and purchase bags of ice to store in the refrigerator to keep your food cool longer. Throw away perishable food that was exposed to temperatures above 40°F for two hours or more, or anything that looks or smells bad. If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that requires refrigeration, unless the label says otherwise. Never use a stove, oven or BBQ to hear your home. Keep backup batteries for cell phones and tablets.
Make sure you know how to manually open your garage door or driveway gate, as shown in this instructional video.
Be prepared for traffic signal outages, and approach any intersection where the traffic signal is not functioning as if it were an all-way stop sign (as required under California law).
If you require power for medical equipment, contact SCE at 800-447-6620.
Monitor news, weather, traffic and emergency information by listening to KBUU 99.1 FM and KNX AM-1070 or other local stations on a battery-powered, solar, hand-crank, or car radio, which will function during a power outage.
For more information on how to prepare for PSPSs and other power outages, visit the PSPS web page.
HARDEN YOUR HOME AGAINST WILDFIRES
The City’s Fire Safety Liaison is available to visit your home, assess the property’s wildfire risk and provide a checklist of ways that that you can harden your homes against flying embers, which are a main cause of homes catching fire during a wildfire. Tips include clearing away dry, flammable material, furniture, and vegetation from adjacent to the home, covering eve vents with metal mesh, keeping rain gutters free of leaves and debris, and creating defensible space around the house, as well as advice on evacuations and creating a family emergency plan. To schedule an appointment online, visit the web page or email FireSafety@malibucity.org or call 310-456-2489, ext. 387. See a home hardening checklist and other helpful information.