Make an Informed Decision: Please stay evacuated

We are NOT out of the woods.
Tomorrow (Sunday) is expected to be every bit as bad as yesterday (Friday) was – EVEN for areas already burnt.

[On Saturday] We are in the “eye of the storm” today — and there’s relative calm. Even such today, there was a fire at the water district filtration plant next to the 3 billion gallon reservoir where an ember smoldered for a long time, and then ignited the building.

There are reasons the *mandatory* evacuation for the City of Westlake Village is still in effect — same for parts of Agoura, Oak Park, Calabasas and Thousand Oaks. We’ve already lost a number of homes just in the City of Westlake Village alone. Agoura, Oak Park, Calabasas, parts of Thousand Oaks are all in the same shape.

The reason for the relative calmness today is that we have off shore winds coming towards us from the ocean — it’s cooler and moister. Tomorrow, we return to the Santa Ana winds. When that happens, we are right in the line of fire for where the wind is pushing the embers.

Remember, this fire is not contained — not even close.

Many people think that “it’s already burned” in certain areas so it’s safe. This is a factually incorrect statement. For the ground, think about creme brulee — burnt on the top, but not below. Or for trees, a wind-blown fire starts to burn the trees on one side, but not the other side. There is PLENTY of fuel to burn, even in the areas that are already burnt.

The fire department’s mandate is first and foremost life preservation. After that comes property protection. If a family stays home, and a fire event happens a couple of doors away where no one is home, fireman will prioritize pros a life over saving a burn. So, if your neighbor’s house burns down, and you were home, it could be your fault — because the firemen needed to protect you.

So, even if you think you are “helping” — by staying at home, or pulling out a garden hose — you aren’t. You are forcing the fire department to change priorities to protect you, rather than for the good of your neighbors and the community.

We are not saying your house will burn down — we’re saying it *might* burn. If you were near a fire yesterday, and thought to yourself “I should have evacuated” — now’s your advance warning. And, if you are feeling at ease after yesterday, please don’t — you’re being misled or misleading yourself.

How do you know when it’s not only safe to return, but when your presence won’t cause others harm? When the evacuation orders are lifted. The City of Westlake Village, and other surrounding cities will lift the evacuation orders as soon as they are comfortable that we’re out of danger.

If you are still in the area, please pack up and leave the evacuation zone, and let the firefighters focus on what’s best for the whole community.