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An Ashen Landscape in Malibu After Woolsey Fire Rips Through Canyons ~ Photos

1:13 AM PST on November 11, 2018

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]our horses, stranded and dazed, stood at the top of a ridgeline on Kanan Dume Road in Malibu as the smoked-over orange sunset descended. The animals stared at us. They must have been let loose during the fire that ripped down hills and canyons in Malibu since Friday, when a dark cloud of smoke seemed to envelop the hills and beaches west of Los Angeles along the coast.

There was little else we could do but call up to them, and tell the horses that someone would be getting them soon. No winds. No imminent threat of flames, just a few hot-spots and flare-ups as crews assessed the damage left in sections of Malibu that burned after three days of fire in Ventura and L.A. counties.

Photo by Brian Feinzimer.
Malibu, CA - Nov. 10: Four horses stand on a hilltop overlooking Malibu during sunset on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)

Most of the smoke is now sitting over Los Angeles proper. More than 83,000 acres have burned and at least 177 structures are gone in the Woolsey Fire. Two people have died.

On Saturday, from the top of Latigo Canyon Road and Kanan Dume Road, the rural hills of Malibu were an ashen landscape, flattened down to dirt and ash. Hills that were once brush, trees, and buildings were now burned down to a ruddy composition. Only a few charred tree trunks survived. A few fire engines rolled to spots of smoldering ruins.

Photo by Brian Feinzimer.
Santa Monica Mountains, CA - Nov. 10: Charred landscape from the Woolsey Fire along Mulholland Highway on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)

Power-lines are down across many of the canyon roads in the aftermath of the Woosley Fire, making passage unsafe in many areas. Crews were already tackling downed power transformers and preparing replacements for burned-down light poles. This part of Malibu burned so badly it couldn’t burn anymore.

Santa Ana winds are expected to blow again from the north-central desert region through Tuesday.

This is the perimeter of the Woolsey Fire. The Hill Fire is also marked/Via Google Maps.

"Due to extreme fire behavior, firefighting efforts have been focused, and will remain focused, on the protection of life, and structures," the updated Cal Fire incident report said. "Due to decreased winds, crews have been able to implement and reinforce existing containment lines. Crews will continue to battle steep terrain, limited access, and extreme fire behavior."

On Pacific Coast Highway the sun set through a still layer of smoke from Friday's flames.

Photo by Daniel Hernandez.

RELATED: How to Stay Informed and Be Ready as Wildfires Burn in Southern California

Photo by Daniel Hernandez.

The fire has displaced an estimated 265,000 people who have evacuated to friends’ and families’ homes across Southern California. It began a day after the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousands Oaks, in which a former US Marine killed 12 and then himself, police said.

Evacuation orders were still in place for the cities and communities of Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Westlake Village, and Malibu. Bad air-quality warnings are in effect for much of the region, meaning people should stay indoors and not exert themselves as much as possible.

In addition to homes and old structures, the "Western Town" film set at Paramount Ranch also burned down.

Agoura Hills resident Steve Martini, 61, told L.A. Taco he watched on Friday as the Woolsey Fire's flames reached within 400 yards of his backyard. He said his local homeowners group uses goats to graze and reduce grass and brush, which could ignite in fire season. "I'm convinced it was the goats," Martini said.

Here is an interactive map on the fire with useful information.

RELATED: We Have Ten Years to Save the World ~ Climate Change Is Definitely F**king Happening

A picnic site along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu/Photo by Brian Feinzimer.
Malibu, CA - Nov. 10: Charred landscape of Alumni Park in Malibu on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)

Extra-dry conditions with low humidity and dry winds made the fire balloon on Friday after it jumped 101 Freeway and began working its way in the direction of the winds, to the coast.

Two people were found dead Saturday, badly burned inside a vehicle on a long residential driveway, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said. Otherwise no other fatalities have been reported in the three fires that struck Southern California this week. In Northern California, 14 more victims were found on Saturday, bringing the death toll in the Camp Fire in Butte County up to 23. The town of Paradise was destroyed.

Authorities warned against looters who might be tempted to enter evacuated areas. Two people were arrested for suspected looting, said the Ventura County Sheriff's office.

Neighboring houses along Kanan Dume Road/Photo by Brian Feinzimer.
Malibu, CA - Nov. 10: Neighboring houses along Kanan Dume Road had different outcomes from the Woolsey Fire on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)

[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]moke and ash hovered over Oakland, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles Basin. The South Coast Air Quality Management District recorded red-flag unhealthful readings along the coastal basin. Overnight, the bad air drifted inland with the onshore flow, and affected the central eastern parts of L.A.

Residents in the affected areas of the fires in Southern California had to scramble from their homes in the middle of night, without warning. Kristen Reichenbach was supposed to attend a party at the Borderline in Thousands Oaks on Thursday, according to a local newspaper account. Instead she was at the victims’ vigil.

Early Friday morning, around 3 am, she smelled smoke in her Westlake Village condo, and left for a shelter. "I just want all the bad to end so that we can start moving forward," Reichenbach told the Ventura County Star.

Many of the areas affected included not only multi-million dollar mansions, but also mobile homes, modest country houses, and dense condo complexes with longtime tenants. “Malibu is a really small community and gets a bad rap for being this kind of elitist, snobby place, and it’s exactly the opposite,” a resident named Keegan Gibbs told the L.A. Times. “It’s built off the shoulders of hard-working blue-collar families [...] it isn’t something people buy into.”

Authorities warned against complacency the rest of the weekend. Winds could pick up again and spread embers that could ignite other structures. Evacuation orders are still in place.

All Photos by Brian Feinzimer.

L.A. County firefighters work to extinguish flames on Dume Drive, Nov. 09, 2018.
Malibu, CA - Nov. 9: Los Angeles County firefighters work to extinguish flames burning a side building from reaching a house under construction on Dume Drive during the Woolsey Fire on November 09, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)
Smoke from the Woolsey Fire colors the shoreline in Malibu.
Malibu, CA - Nov. 10: Smoke from the Woolsey Fire colors the sky in Malibu on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)
Malibu, CA - Nov. 10: A fire danger sign survives among the burned landscape along Kanan Dume Road in Malibu on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)
Santa Monica Mountains, CA - Nov. 10: Charred landscape from the Woolsey Fire along Mulholland Highway on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)
Utility workers repair downed lines along Kanan Dume Road.
Santa Monica Mountains, CA - Nov. 10: Utility workers repair downed lines along Kanan Dume Road on November 10, 2018. (Brian Feinzimer/Fein Image)

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