As of today, the fast-moving Woolsey Fire that continues to blaze through Malibu has burned 83,000 acres and destroyed 177 structures. There are two confirmed deaths and nearly 250,000 people displaced, the LA Times reported. The Woolsey fire is currently 10% contained and, unfortunately, more Santa Ana winds are forecasted to blow throughout today, and into Monday, as firefighters battle for the fourth straight day.
Malibu’s local surf community has been devastated by the fire. Numbered among those who’ve lost their home is WSL Commentator Strider Wasilewski and his family. Laird Hamilton stayed home despite the mandatory evacuation and staved off the flames with his pool water (watch him drive his Hummer through what looks like hell in the Instagram post below). The parking lot at Zuma Beach has been converted into a makeshift camp for evacuees and a staging area for firefighters. Viral photos showed horses on the beach and llamas tethered to lifegaurd towers while ash rained down. View the LA Times’ harrowing photo essay of the scene here.
During the declared California State of Emergency, President Trump tactlessly tweeted, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
The insensitive tweet drew obligatory celebrity criticism, like many of his tweets do, but responses from those risking their lives on the front lines are perhaps the most powerful. The Pasadena Firefighters Association responded to the President with the following, "Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts & help the victims."
Meanwhile, the deadly Paradise, California fire in Northern California, near Chico, continues to rage out of control too. So far 23 people are confirmed dead and over 100 are missing. Read more here.
Exhausted firefighters have asked for donations of the below items:
Gallon Ziplock bags
Gold Bond Powder
Even if you’re not local to the LA County area, just drop donations off at your nearest fire station and they’ll be delivered to those assigned to a fire.
Surf Ride Surf Shop is taking clothing donations for displaced fire victims and is collecting the items listed above for firefighters at both the Oceanside and Solana Beach locations.
For a list of local animal shelters and the Red Cross relief fund currently receiving donations, click here.
Donate directly to the Los Angeles Fire Department here.
Donate directly to the Humane Society of Ventura County here.
SURFER’s thoughts are with those affected by the disaster and the brave firefighters working hard to curtail more loss.
Below are some digital dispatches from those in the surf community on the scene.