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Malibu Fires

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, breaking news of a fire in Malibu is no big surprise. Everybody can recall the major fire of 1993, the fire of 1996 and the fire of this past January. History is in the making with the biggest fire anyone has seen in Malibu and everybody cares...well, at least for one day, Sunday, October 21st.

If you turned on the television Sunday, every local news channel in Los Angeles had live coverage of the damage taking place in Malibu, except for FOX news. They had to show the more "important" NFL football game, which one would find passive. Around 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, a power line in Malibu Canyon was knocked down by the fierce Santa Ana winds, which sparked a fire that spread faster than any news of Britney Spears shaving her head. On the television screen, landmarks from my childhood memories were going up in flames. The Malibu castle, where as a little girl I thought I would live one day when I was older, was ablaze. The Malibu Presbyterian Church that I passed every time I drove from the Valley to Malibu was vanished. The clock tower in the town center where my cousin and I would go to get frozen yogurt every summer had collapsed. Childhood images were going up in flames before my very own eyes.

Cut to Monday morning. I turn on the TV and see more disturbing images of massive fires, except one image was unfamiliar to me. I couldn't recall ever seeing pine trees in Malibu. Since when were there tract homes in the multi-million dollar mansion area? Apparently even larger fires had started in San Diego, Lake Arrowhead, Orange County, Valencia and a few other locations throughout Southern California. The new fire locations had now taken the newsworthy attention away from Malibu, it seemed as though a competition had sparked amongst the various cities. In San Diego alone, 100,000 acres have burned, which doesn't give Malibu a chance considering the fact that its flames had only carried amongst 2,400 acres. The evening news images of Stevenson Canyon burning were similar to the movie Independence Day. The aerial images taken from a news helicopter reflected a giant pit of fiery red and neon orange flames. Now I am distracted away from Malibu and taken by these horrific images from the Canyon. Except for a few updates here and there, the news had moved onto bigger and better fires and had forgotten all about Malibu.

According to Malibu resident John Cadenhead who was in Malibu Monday, the city was like a ghost town. "Besides the tons of fire trucks, there is nobody walking around," he said. Mandatory evacuations all over Malibu had been made. Winds continue to stay very high, upwards of 56 mph and are supposed to stay like that for another 24 hours. So far 1,500 people have been evacuated, six houses have been destroyed and 13 houses have been damaged. The fire is only 10 percent contained. School has been canceled and shelters for animals have been set up in the valley.

As of Monday, there were still some fires burning along Carbon Beach, which is south of the Malibu Pier. Many celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, and David Geffen, all own houses on this beach. The fire has been moving south along the Pacific Coast Highway since yesterday heading towards the Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.

As of Monday near Leo Carrillo beach there was only four percent relative humidity, which virtually means there is no moisture in the air. Most people believe that air temperature is the real threat during fire season, but in reality it is not. Humidity is a major factor as is wind speed. So, with no moisture in the air and hurricane winds, it is the perfect formula for disaster.

Everybody knows Southern California moves at the speed of light. If you're not exciting and new, people get bored and move onto the next hot thing. Some people out and about in West Hollywood on Sunday morning had no idea there were massive fires in Malibu. I came across a friend and casually said "How about those fires in Malibu," to which she responded "What fires?" My dad then answered back "What, do you live in a cave?"

Fortunately for the paparazzi, celebrity hot spots Nobu, Taverna Tony's, Starbucks, the Promises Treatment Center, and Planet Blue were unharmed. And unfortunately to Hollywood, that's all that matters. Anticipating the idea that Britney Spears', Paris Hilton's, or Lindsay Lohan's beach houses in Malibu aren't burning anytime soon, Malibu will be on the back burner once again until another premiere disaster strikes, or they're sent to rehab!

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