The L.A. Fire Department (LAFD) has been working hard to contain the Woolsey Fire, and has succeeded in containing around 25 percent of it at the time of production on Tuesday night. However, it is predicted to get worse as the Santa Ana winds continue to blow into the area and humidity remains low, according to Curbed Los Angeles.
The fire has affected hundreds of LMU students' families from outside the L.A. area. Currently, the fire is affecting the entirety of the city of Malibu and parts of Thousand Oaks, Topanga, Calabasas, the Santa Monica Mountains and other surrounding areas. The current location of the fire can be tracked on the Google Maps crisis map.
"My house burned down, we lost almost everything [and] a few of my neighbors and friends also lost part [or] all of their homes," said Savannah Slattery, a junior marketing major from Malibu. "I just really wish I could have my home back."
Thousand Oaks was also affected by a shooting on Wednesday at the Borderline Bar and Grill, where 12 people were killed.
“This last 48 [to] 72 hours in Ventura County have been a difficult time,” said Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy on Friday. “People lost their lives in the shooting and now people have lost their homes [in the fire].”
L.A. county and Ventura county have sent out a mandatory evacuation for many people north and south of the 101 Freeway. Around 170,000 residents were forced to leave their homes, with all but areas of Malibu, Calabasas, Westlake Village and Topanga, as evacuation orders have been lifted. Two people have reportedly died from the flames while trying to escape the fires in Malibu. Over 96,000 acres have burned and more than 435 homes have fallen victim to the devastating fires, according to Curbed.
Even in areas where the flames have stopped, power lines and trees are blocking the area. Ignited rocks are capable of reigniting and air quality remains dangerous.
“We still don’t know if our Malibu house has made it [through the fire] because people can’t get into Malibu. We were evacuated Thursday night at 10 p.m. and came back home to [Westlake Village] and you cannot even recognize [it],” said Samantha O’Brien, a senior urban studies major from Westlake Village, an area affected by the fire.
A red flag warning had also been announced until Tuesday afternoon as a result of the high winds and extremely low humidity expected to complicate the fires, according to the National Weather Service.
The fire broke out at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, near Simi Valley and spread quickly south through the area because of the powerful winds on the following day. On Friday morning, the city of Malibu sent out a mandatory evacuation order.
“My best friend’s home burned down along with over 10 of our close friends’ [homes],” said O’Brien. She encouraged people on social media to donate money, supplies or anything they can to people who need help after the fires.
Pepperdine University, which is located in Malibu, has not been evacuated but has instead placed a shelter-in-place plan, according to their Twitter page.
LMU has not been affected directly by the fires but has sent out community advisories and updates regarding the air quality. The air quality advisory states that the air is “unhealthy for certain populations.” LMU has also sent out resources to those who might need help coping with the natural disasters.
“I hope people see this as a reminder to be grateful for the things they have, because anything can happen ... If you have to evacuate, what would you take? I was asked that question and froze,” said Slattery.