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LASD - Malibu/Lost Hills Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff
Friday November 14th, 2014 :: 01:33 p.m. PST


Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's #ArsonWatch Team Dedicated to Preventing and Protecting #LASD

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Arson Watch Team Dedicated to Preventing and Protecting 


Smoky the Bear isn’t the only one breathing a sigh of relief as the heat slowly retreats: the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Arson Watch members are also welcoming the signs of fall and winter.  As part of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, this group of local volunteers is dedicated to preventing and spotting brush fires throughout the Topanga and Malibu areas of the Santa Monica Mountains. Activated when the LA County Fire Department announces a red flag alert, the team works closely with local fire officials to ensure the safety of our community and our homes during times of high fire danger.

Once team members are notified of red flag warnings, they organize amongst themselves to establish areas that each member is responsible for patrolling. Coordinating with a designated base camp, team members canvas their assigned areas in an attempt to observe any potential fire hazards or suspicious people in the area.  The Arson Watch team checks all known fire gates to make sure they are secured and unobstructed, information gained through years of training and experience. Team members make note of areas of vegetation that may be a potential fire hazard, and would then notify property owners or the proper authority of the hazard. Team members are also trained to spot and report any suspicious person that they believe may have bad intentions, as preventing intentional fires may be the most important task of the team.  While on patrol, it is imperative to take note on any vehicles parked at trail heads and along rural roads. In the event of a large fire in the area, this information may prove useful in the search for suspects or witnesses.

Although the Arson Watch Team covers the extensive areas throughout Malibu, Topanga, Chatsworth and Agoura County, the terrain and geography of Topanga and Malibu make these areas the focus of the team during red flag alerts.  Red flag warnings typically advise of hot, dry and windy conditions. Winds in the canyons tend to blow towards the coast, where the Malibu community is located. Dry, rural vegetation puts these areas in particular at a higher risk as far as brush fires are concerned.

Topanga Arson Watch Co-Leader Will Carey recalls a harrowing yet eye-opening experience that hits close to home for him.  He was a resident of the Topanga community in 1993 when an out of control brush fire destroyed over a dozen homes and took multiple lives. Started on Old Topanga Canyon Road, the fire grew rapidly as it made its way towards the city of Malibu, five miles away. Safety officials ordered evacuations as flames reached 200 feet high, and military officials were called in to assist in the effort to extinguish the blaze. This fire ultimately resulted in the largest deployment of fire personnel in California history.  For Carey, this was an awakening experience as to the necessity of an Arson Watch team in the area, of which he is now a proud and dedicated member.

Carey says the team is always looking for volunteers that are interested in the program. Applicants should have flexible hours and be available to be called out for seasonal and last-minute activations. If you are interested in learning more about the team and possibly becoming a member, please email them at or call (310) 455-4244. Visit the Arson Watch website at

Prepared by : LET Heather Fuquay

Media Release Date: November 14, 2014



* Lost Hills Sheriff's Station polices the Cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu and Westlake Village, and the unincorporated communities of Chatsworth Lake Manor, Malibu Lake, Topanga, and West Hills: For further information contact: Malibu / Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 27050 Agoura Road Agoura, CA 91301 (818) 878-1808 Website: LASD HQ Text and Emails: Facebook: Twitter

LASD - Malibu/Lost Hills Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff
27050 Agoura Rd
Calabasas, CA 91301

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 818-878-1808

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