Skip to main content

Firefighters close to containing Malibu fire

  • Story Highlights
  • Officials confident Malibu wildfire can be contained today
  • At last report, fire burned 4,720 acres and destroyed more than 50 homes
  • Campfire by people 'partying' blamed for the fire
  • Gov. Schwarzenegger reactivated state of emergency
  • Next Article in U.S. »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

MALIBU, California (CNN) -- Firefighters expected to fully contain on Monday a fire that tore through Malibu's canyons and hills over the weekend, destroying more than 50 homes, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

"It's more of a fuel-driven fire now, not a wind-driven fire," Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Conrad Quintana told CNN. As of early Monday, officials said the fire, which had scorched 4,720 acres, was 90 percent contained.

About 15,000 people were forced to evacuate from the flames, but many of them had returned by Sunday afternoon, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. As of Monday afternoon, all mandatory evacuations had been lifted, according to Malibu's Web site.

The fire broke out early Saturday and -- fueled by dry Santa Ana winds and low humidity -- grew quickly.

Two fire investigators told CNN on Sunday that a campfire set by a group of people "partying" at the end of a dirt road near Corral Canyon may have sparked the blaze. The investigators, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said they hope the people will come forward. Video Watch what fire investigators have learned »

The fire-friendly weather conditions hindered initial efforts to battle the blaze, which consumed dozens of homes in Los Angeles County. On Sunday, the governor praised the "terrific response" of the more than 1,400 firefighters.

A handful of them received minor injuries; one suffered moderate facial burns, department spokesmen said.


Last month, wildfires charred more than 508,000 acres in several California counties, forced 1 million people from their homes and killed 14 people. Photo See photos of the devastation »

Schwarzenegger on Saturday reactivated a state of emergency he had declared for last month's wildfires. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Ted Rowlands and Dan Simon contributed to this report.

All About WildfiresMalibu

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print