Photo credit: Joey Maya Safchik
CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts

Massive fire causes evacuations

A car horn honked loudly as drivers swerved around people pulling to the side of the road in order to capture photos of the overwhelming cloud of smoke that covered the otherwise blue sky on Saturday afternoon.

On Topanga Canyon, an early moon appeared a deep red, and just below it, flames engulfed over 200 acres in Calabasas and surrounding areas. It has been reported that the fire began due to a truck hitting a power pole, and that the extremely high temperatures (reaching over 100 degrees in the Valley) transformed the fire into a major disaster.

The destructive flames have left upwards of 180 homes without power, and have led to the evacuation of neighborhoods in and around Calabasas, including Topanga Canyon. Nearly 500 brave firefighters are risking their lives to battle the monstrous flames that have closed down freeways and roads.

Ash has been reaching neighborhoods as far as Studio City and parts of Hollywood.

In Topanga, a mandatory evacuation has been issued in certain areas, in order to protect the hundreds of people who call the canyon home. As these citizens flocked through the streets in pursuit of a safe haven, many trailed along a plethora of animals behind them in true Topanga fashion.

“I was really stressed. It was pretty scary. But we are out now and I am so very, very relieved,” said Lily Andrew, 15, who lives and performs on the Canyon. She was forced to evacuate with her family of four and dozens of animals.

“It felt crazy, like we all went into this survival mode. ‘Just get the animals into the car.’ And we did! I feel like Noah’s Ark!” she said, while reflecting on the nerve-wracking evening.

Evacuations along parts of the canyon are expected to be lifted around 8 a.m. Sunday morning, although the course of the fire has been unpredictable due to a lack of winds. Teams of firefighters from several locations are utilizing helicopters, fire trucks, and planes in gallant attempts to protect all people and salvage as much property as possible.

As brave firefighters continue to battle the flames, which appear to be domineering opponents, people are finding safe shelter at high school and college campuses nearby. Temperatures are expected to cool in the next few days, which will hopefully allow the valiant firefighters to triumph, enabling citizens and animals to return to their property.