Woolsey Fire fully contained, rain brings mudslide concerns

Image 1 of 2

The Woolsey Fire was 100 percent contained Wednesday, but with rain forecast for tonight and into Thursday, officials in Los Angeles and Ventura counties were in an emergency response mode today, preparing for potential debris, mud and rock slides, especially in the Malibu area along Highway 1 and the canyon roads.

The greatest chance for significant rainfall will occur later Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Sandbags and sand were being made available to all residents at Los Angeles County and Ventura County fire stations.

The current weather conditions of reduced winds and moderate humidity helped firefighters increase containment of the Woolsey Fire to 100 percent. 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.

Authorities noted that the assistance centers would not be affected by the daylong power outage in the Malibu area.

Pepperdine University officials announced the campus would be without power during the planned outage.

Malibu schools were expected to remain closed at least through the Thanksgiving weekend. Officials of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District said a certified staff of specialists will begin cleaning the schools so they are ready to re-open after the holiday.

The Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 29 in Malibu and Las Virgenes Municipal Water District determined their tap water is safe to drink and no longer has to be boiled for drinking or cooking, officials said.

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 www.lacounty.gov/woolseyfire. Malibu also has a website with updated fire information at www.malibucity.org/woolsey.

Copyright 2018 FOX 11 Los Angeles: Download our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.