MALIBU, CA (FOX 11/CNS) - Residents living in the Woolsey Fire burn areas are thankful the hillsides held up during Wednesday’s overnight storm. Officials were prepared for mud and debris flow with swift water rescue crews on standby in case of an emergency. This is just the start of the winter storm season and first responders are asking residents to continue to protect their property with sandbags and be prepared to evacuate.
Three-thousand people are still evacuated from homes in the Malibu area, according to the LA County Fire Department. Officials said Thursday their goal was to reopen more roads and hopefully get those residents home for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The current weather conditions of reduced winds and moderate humidity helped firefighters increase containment of the Woolsey Fire to 100 percent Wednesday. Since erupting Nov. 8 in Ventura County and quickly spreading into Los Angeles County, the fire has charred 96,949 acres, destroyed 1,643 structures in both counties and damaged 364 others.
The announcement of full containment came a day earlier than the most recent estimate issued by the Unified Command.
About 215 firefighters remained assigned to the fire, officials said.
The death toll stands at three civilians, and three firefighters have been injured.
Officials have gradually allowed residents to go home as utilities are restored and areas deemed safe.
Most residents who had been under mandatory evacuations have been allowed to return, although about 4,000 remained evacuated in Malibu and nearby unincorporated areas, officials said.
“Crews remain diligent in providing public service to residents as they return to their homes,'' according to a Unified Command statement issued late Wednesday afternoon. “Structures destroyed and damaged have been validated by damage assessment teams.''
The entire burn area has been assessed, officials said.
“Unified Command will prepare for potential rain and have a contingency plan for mud and debris flow,'' officials said.
Some road closures remained in effect in the Malibu and unincorporated county areas.
Disaster Assistance Centers were opened to help residents affected by the blaze. They will be closed Thanksgiving but reopen Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are located at the former Malibu Courthouse at 23525 Civic Center Way, and at the Conrad L. Hilton Foundation, 30440 Agoura Road, in Agoura Hills.
Residents with proper photo ID can pickup their mail at the USPS Facility at 7101 S. Central Ave. in downtown Los Angeles between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Friday.
Malibu schools were expected to remain closed at least through the Thanksgiving weekend. Officials of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District said specialists will begin cleaning the schools so they are ready to reopen after the holiday.
Residents were urged not to try to restore their gas service but to contact SoCal Gas to do it. They also were cautioned to watch out for workers restoring services.
Additional fire information for Los Angeles County can be found at their website.
Malibu also has a website with updated fire information here.