I’ve just heard that the area around Malibu Pier — which includes David Geffen’s hotel, the newly remodeled Malibu Beach Inn — is now threatened by the swirling Santa Ana wind-fanned flames flowing down the hillside and jumping Pacific Coast Highway. Oracle mogul Larry Ellison owns an incredibly large amount of commercial and residential real estate there as well for a proposed project. The Malibu Colony Plaza shopping center, right near the famed Malibu Colony residences of so many Hollywood celebs and moguls, got singed today. And there continue to be evacuations from the Colony, and Pepperdine University and many other Malibu neighborhoods of big and small homes, including Sierra Estates, Malibu Crest, Latigo Canyon, Topanga Canyon, Tuna Canyon, Sweetwater Canyon, Puerco Canyon, Monte Nido, Carbon Mesa, Rambla Pacifico and Big Rock. For those who think Malibu is only populated by the rich and famous, dream on. The majority of residents are relatively average folk who bought homes there eons ago and who have most of their wealth tied up in those houses which wildly appreviated in value over the years. (Refresh for latest… Watch live here.)
The blaze began just hours after presidential candidate Barack Obama was in the area at the Malibu estate of environmentalist Kelly Meyer and Universal prez/COO Ron Meyer, who hosted a major Hollywood fundraiser for the Democrat on Saturday. Completely engulfed and burning to the ground is the Malibu Castle, home to many philanthropic events over the years and a local landmark. Also known as Hodges Castle, located at 23800 Malibu Crest Drive, it was built by a doctor from 1977 to 1979 and has been the location for two episodes of the Rockford Files TV show as well as the movie The Ring of Musketeers, starring David Hasselhoff. The worst news occurred when the fire jumped Pacific Coast Highway towards the ocean where the densest area of residential homes are located. Swirling offshore Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 60 mph are making it impossible for firefighters to determine the direction of fire, which is hopscotching around Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road. High voltage power lines fell because of high winds overnight in the area and sparked the blaze. Low humidity, and temps well over 10 to 20 degrees above normal for the next few days will put firefighters on a defensive position. Fire evacuees are being urged to go to Zuma Beach, the site of a teen beach blanket movie by the same name from 1978 starring Suzanne Somers who lost her home in the last Malibu fire.
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.