MATTHEW HALL

Daily Press Editor

With wildfires burning throughout the region and the danger expected to persist into the weekend, local officials are taking steps to prepare the city for any potential fire emergencies.

The local efforts come as the National Weather Service has extended their Red Flag Warning through Saturday and following a small brush fire near Malibu.

The Horizon Fire broke out at about 8 a.m. Thursday morning on the 5300 block of Horizon Drive.

Firefighters called a second alarm due to the heavy brush and the flames were brought under control at about 9 a.m. with about a quarter acre burned.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department said air units were able to make water drops on the fire and ground based firefighters worked to contain hotspots. No structures were lost to the flames and no injuries were reported.

Santa Monica firefighters were on alert throughout the night in anticipation an emergency situation.

“A team of firefighters were deployed overnight until early morning on Thursday conducting a safety patrol of the Santa Monica monitoring for fire and embers with the increased winds and the uncontained Skirball Fire,” said SMFD Fire Captain Patrick Nulty.

“This was a preventative measure and it’s important that residents stay vigilant and take measures to dispose of combustible material around their homes and stay alert of the current conditions.”

Officials said the nearby fires are a reminder to residents to have an emergency plan, be in contact with neighbors that might need help and to monitor news outlets for emergency information.

“We ask that residents and visitors closely monitor updates and avoid the fire areas to allow emergency responders the access they need,” said Lindsay Barker, Chief Resilience Officer for City of Santa Monica.

“Take this time to prepare your home, build a kit of supplies, and have a plan with your friends and family.”

No evacuation orders have been issued for Santa Monica but officials have plans in place should an evacuation be required.
The first step would be to issue an “evacuation advisory” to residents within a specific area.

The plan, referred to as Ready, Set, Go, is:
Ready entails disposing of combustible material around your home and trimming trees and bushes.

Set consists of preparation measures such as putting together a “Go-Kit” (medication, documents, supplies), creating an action plan with family and neighbors, including practice exit plans, and signing up for emergency notifications and alerts via social media.

Go means go. Get your Go-Kit and leave well before the threat approaches. Stay aware of the situation and stick to your plan. Cooperate with local authorities, including the re-entry process.

In the event of an evacuation, City Hall would use its automated SMAlerts system to issue orders via phone, text message and email to registered users.

Law enforcement officers would also notify residents of evacuation orders. Locals can visit www.smalerts.net to register for automated messages.

Officials said there is no immediate threat from flames in Santa Monica and the most significant danger is from smoke drifting over the city.

“Safety of Santa Monican residents, visitors and staff is our top priority,” said Katie Lichtig, Assistant City Manager for City of Santa Monica. “Our main concern for Santa Monicans at this time is air quality.

We are monitoring air quality reports closely and recommend that individuals reduce outdoor activity.”

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said the air quality bad throughout the county but especially in the San Fernando Valley, Lake View Terrace, Sylmar and surrounding areas as well as coastal areas such as Malibu and Santa Monica.

“It is difficult to tell where ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of dust particles in the air, so we ask all individuals to be aware of their immediate environment and to take actions to safeguard their health,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County.

“Smoke and ash can be harmful to health, especially in vulnerable individuals, like the elderly, people with asthma or individuals with other respiratory and heart conditions.”

Residents should avoid unnecessary outdoor activity if they see or smell smoke.

Air conditioners that recirculate air can filter out some harmful particles but those that draw air from outside should be avoided. Pets should also be kept inside.

Santa Monica has compiled a list of online emergency resources at:
https://twitter.com/santamonicacity/lists/emergency-alerts
editor@smdp.com

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