Malibu local Lori Jacobus started a petition to put an end to the controversial proposal allowing camping above the highly populated canyons.
"I was inspired to start this petition out of concern for those who would be coming to these proposed campsites from out of town,” says Jacobus. “Malibu residents have become reluctant experts on fire and fire evacuation; we know how to get out safely, but those coming into these canyons to camp do not have first hand experience of a fast moving wildfire, nor do they understand that these canyons have their own weather patterns and the dangerous landscape conditions.”
“Allowing overnight camping in these hills could be potentially devastating and even life-threatening for both residents and campers alike,” adds Jacobus. “The terrain and conditions do not lend themselves to the better structured, regulated and monitored camping experiences available in our state and national parks – and in the hills of Malibu, “fire season” has become a year around event as is evidenced by the fire danger signs the have read “high” many times this winter.”
According to FEMA’s wesbite, the leading heat source of intentionally set [man-made] outdoor fires, by more than five times the second leading source, is heat from open flames, such as campfires, or smoking materials (70 percent). An illegal campfire was the cause of the devastating 2007 Corral Canyon blaze, which burned 53 homes to the ground. More than five years on, some residents have yet to rebuild. Fires of any kind, including legal campfires which were the result of 9 wildfires in 2012 alone, already carry an increasing level of risk in understaffed campgrounds and State Parks. As the losses of the 2007 blazes demonstrate, even with well-regulated brush clearance, just one campfire in a hard-to-reach location can quickly take a tragic and unexpected turn.
The petition has already exceeded 1,000 signatures and residents are currently mobilizing teams to begin collecting signatures at shopping centers and other public areas with high foot traffic in Malibu, Agoura, Calabasas, Palisades, Topanga and additional surrounding areas.
“The residents of Malibu are most interested in doing whatever it takes to minimize the risk of more fires,” says Jacobus. “Fires are going to happen naturally, we get that and we accept it – but there’s no reason to knowingly and further risk public safety.”
More information regarding the petition, generated through change.org, can be found at http://www.change.org/