Malibu Fires Force Residents to Evacuate

Winds of up to 50 mph fueled two small wildfires


MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -- Winds of up to 50 mph fueled two small wildfires early Monday in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, forcing residents of about 30 homes to flee, officials said.

About 300 firefighters and one water-dropping helicopter were battling a 5-acre fire in Latigo Canyon and a 10-acre fire burning less than 3 miles away in Corral Canyon, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan.

The smaller blaze was contained but the other fire was not yet contained by 4 a.m. Monday, said Ed Pickett, supervising dispatcher with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Firefighters were hampered by 50 mph wind gusts, hilly terrain and thick chaparral, he said.

There were no injuries reported, and no damage to any buildings, Jordan said.

Residents of about 30 homes in Latigo Canyon evacuated the area shortly before midnight, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Mark Hoefler. The evacuations were not mandatory, Jordan said.

A red flag warning signaling high fire danger and high wind warnings were in effect through Tuesday.

Since Jan. 1, the National Weather Service has had a ``fire weather forecast'' for Southern California, which exists when dry conditions and low humidity combine with winds higher than 25 mph.

``It's dangerous out there,'' said Bill Hoffer, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.