Fire chief says Malibu’s 4 fire stations are overloaded, wants 3 more = But Chief says Malibu fire brigades will not really be putting out fires =  Move over Nixle and Pulsepoint, LA County rolls out Zonehaven =  But new county software does not support cellphone apps = Caltrans walks away from Trancas Creek bridge for the winter

Written by on November 4, 2022

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Fire Chief Says Malibu Needs 3 More Fire Stations To fill ‘Customer Service Needs’

Malibu needs three additional fire stations … says the local fire chief.

Drew Smith says the L A County firefighters are not able to provide the level of customer support that he would prefer … given the four fire stations laid out in Malibu in the 1950s.

Smith told the Malibu public safety commission earlier this week … he wants three more fire stations in Malibu. 


“The City of Malibu … four stations that we have there… we have a total of 51 firefighters on duty there.  

“You look at 281 calls a month … that’s pretty busy for the four fire stations that are within the City of Malibu. 

“I could say that if I had the opportunity if we had to go somewhere with this … it would actually be to grow to within the coastal area an additional three fire stations… If we had the ability to do that for the customer service ability.”

And the regional fire chief says volunteer brigades …. soon to be formed in Malibu … will be valuable to the professional L A County firefighters.

But don’t count on those volunteers putting out fires.


“And I’ve said this before: we have professional firefighters and we have professional law-enforcement personnel. 

“But not all of them get to do the fun work.

“There’s work that we have to do when there’s a need, so we don’t know what that fit is. 

“It might be a fire suppression mop up endeavor on a follow on a fire front following, it might be a list of logistical support endeavor. It might be a damage assessment following. It might be a damage assessment component.”

County Assistant fire chief Drew Smith.

After the Woolsey fire… Four years ago… Malibu residents demanded that the county fire department set up neighborhood fire brigades … to help residents put out fires. Such a brigade was set up in Coral Canyon… Where reserve fire departments from the local neighborhood had their fire truck taken away by the county during the Woolsey fire and handed over to professional firefighters… Who sat in it while dozens of houses burned.

The new fire brigade system being set up by Los Angeles county will not put locals in the fire trucks.

The reaction in Malibu will be yet to be seen.


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There’s No App For That: Move Over Pulsepoint And Nixle – City And County Now Relying On Zonehaven

There is yet another helpful web site that Malibu residents are being asked to check now in times of emergency.

It’s called Zonehaven … it’s sort of like Pulsepoint or the city’s website … but different. 

Zonehaven shows evacuation zones and evacuation status … for the entire region.

And the sheriff’s office …. fire department … and city are all in together on this one. 

It expands upon the same evacuation zones that the Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness … and the City of Malibu … came up with.

Malibu’s four emergency zones are included.

The Zonehaven maps can be used for conducting evacuations during wildfires, earthquakes or other emergencies. 

People can enter an address into the Zonehaven map to get real-time status updates, shelter options and more.

County fire spokeswoman Megan Currier.


“It gives us one common reference point for the residents and for public safety agencies.

“So basically the zones will be updated in real time statuses will be updated in real time so for example if chief Smith cost for an evacuation in Malibu see 113 then we can go on in the back and then immediately change the color and the set up for the zone and let anyone in that zone know that their zone is being evacuated.”

The county fire official says residents should check it regularly for status information.

Of course … that requires power … internet … and a computer … which may or may not be available when an emergency happens.

As for pushing out warning … Zonehaven does not do that.

The plan his for the City of Malibu to push out notifications via other, existing  warning systems.

One other problem.

The new maps are available only on the Internet … not on cellphone apps.

Zonehaven won the contract with the county without supplying an app to make it work simply on phones. 

Some city officials say that will be a bit of a problem … an evacuation tool without an app. 


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Based in Malibu … Saguaro Technology offers software development and other engineering services across the entire product life cycle… and across several industries.

Life sciences, automation, robotics.

Saguaro Technology engineers work side-by-side with the client to extend engineering teams… to create and launch products faster… and more cost effectively.

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The Mark and Grether Group offers concierge-level service… personalized attention… to buyers and sellers… landlords and tenants … here in Malibu.

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Caltrans Abandons Trancas Creek Construction For Winter, Leaving Half Finished Bridge

Only in the state of California would bridge construction stop … halfway done … so that theoretical fish could swim through thin air under a new bridge that doesn’t yet exist. 

That’s the tragic comedy Trancas Creek … where Caltrans has roped off its Trancas Creek construction site … or at least part of it.

No official word from the state transportation department. … on what the status of the half-done bridge is.

The north half of this bridge is supposed to be complete and open to traffic right now.

It has a long way to go.

But because salmon and other fish can swim in Trancas Creek … when it flows … the state fish and wildlife people are requiring the state highway department to get out of the creek from November until spring.

We have asked Caltrans repeatedly …. over and over again ,,,, about what appears to be a massive construction blunder that has thrown the bridge replacement project into disarray.

The piles that were supposed to hold up the bridge have failed stress tests … they had to be deepened from 68 feet to 136 feet … causing big construction delays.

It appears … we cannot get confirmation on this … but it appears that Caltrans engineers drastically underestimated the project.

Test bores that would have detected the deep mud and waterlogged sand were not drilled in the right place … they would have detected the deep goop.

As of yesterday … the bridge supports are not nearly finished. 

The deck is reportedly prefabricated up in Kern County.

Contractors spent the last possible day working late into the evening … reconstructing the creekbed and getting ready for any winter rain runoff.

We can only guess what the state plans to do here … as the Caltrans response to Fish and Wildlife … to keep working into December … has apparently not been acted on.

But once thing is apparent.

If we get a heavy rainstorm … like the ones that hit several times in 2018 and 2019 … the old half of the Trancas Creek bridge is vulnerable to washing out.

Bank protection just upstream has been removed … to build the new bridge.

The old bridge appears to be unprotected against rushing water in the creek … like we had four years ago.

So not only is the new construction vulnerable to washing out … so is the old road. 

Again … we have asked and asked and asked Caltrans for comment.

Very nice people say they will get back to us.

And haven’t.


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Caltrans Plans Huge Project To Protect PCH At Big Rock

Speaking of Caltrans … the state agency will go before the Malibu Planning Commission Monday night with its plans to build a major project near Big Rock.

The state wants to build a vertical wall … concrete and steel … next to the ocean just east of the Big Rock signal.

This will narrow the road significantly … no shoulders … no center turn lane … 10-foot narrow lanes … 

Caltrans plans a hybrid day and night construction schedule. 

But relocating the utility lines alone will take 9 months …. 

The overhead power lines have to be relocated 


Support for KBUU Radio comes from the Malibu Brewing Company.

Malibu Brewing Company is a locally owned craft brewery, proudly supporting our community, and local public radio. 

The tap room at Trancas Country Market is open…

And the Malibu Brewing Company is serving its Oktoberfest fest beer … a traditional lager with notes of toffee … moderate malt flavors and delicate hops.

A chef prepared menu to enjoy on the patio or inside.

Malibu Brewing Company Malibu California

Marathon Crowds PCH At Zuma This Weekend

The Malibu marathon returns this weekend. 

It’s sold out … a full house can be expected at Zuma Beach.

Expect lane closures on PCH between the Zuma Beach entrance west to the county line.

Generally … the impact of this marathon is much smaller than the big September triathlon.

Road closures at road crossing points …. Like Broad Beach and Trancas … are much less severe.

Big crowd alert at Zuma Beach this weekend.



This is Malibu’s Only Local Daily News … the Friday edition … I’m Hans Laetz reporting. 


Support for KBUU Radio comes from the Malibu Foundation.

The Malibu Foundation underwrote the KBUU solar panels and batteries at the transmitter … which keeps KBUU’s FM transmitting on 99.1 during storms and blackouts… 24 seven… on clean renewable Malibu sunshine.


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