MALIBU, Calif. – A quick-moving brush fire in Malibu, California, prompted a heavy fire response and preemptive power outages in the region Thursday as Southern California’s Santa Ana winds brought windy and dry conditions, fueling wildfire danger.
The Don Fire began just after midnight Thursday morning in a two-story commercial building in Topanga Canyon near Malibu, but strong winds gusting to 45 mph pushed the fire into nearby heavy brush, quickly spreading to over 3 acres.
Firefighters and helicopters swarmed the scene as Southern California Edison cut power to parts of eastern Malibu and Los Flores Canyon to prevent strong winds from triggering any new fires. Fire crews were able to stop the flames' and will monitor the area overnight, according to Los Angeles County Fire officials. There were no reported injuries or additional structures lost.
The NWS allowed wind advisories to expire but still warn of gusty conditions through Sunday.
Of the 20 most destructive fires in the history of California, six were sparked by downed power lines, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It added that 53% of the acres burned in 2017 were caused by electrical equipment and power lines.
This week also marked five years since the deadliest of the wildfires – 85 people died in November 2018 when the Camp Fire tore across the town of Paradise, California, fueled by ferocious winds that downed live power lines, sparking the deadly blaze.