Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Page 3


Malibu Courthouse Closed Due to Wildfires in Area


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


The Los Angeles Superior Courtís Malibu courthouse was closed yesterday due to wildfires in the area.

A court spokesperson said that that it was unknown when the courthouse, located at 23525 W. Civic Center Way, would reopen, but that it was unlikely to be today. .

No other courthouses have been impacted due to the wildfires, the spokesperson said.

All matters scheduled to be heard yesterday at the Malibu courthouse will be put over one week, to Monday, Oct. 29, and cases will continue to be put over for one week for each day that the courthouse remains closed, the court explained in a release. It was not immediately clear whether the court would request that Chief Justice Ronald M. George issue a declaration of judicial emergency , which would extend speedy trial and other deadlines.

†Hundreds of homes were reduced to ashes yesterday as wildfires blown by fierce desert winds raced across a huge swath of Southern California extending from Malibu to the Mexican border, forcing a quarter of a million people to flee.

At least one person was killed and dozens injured by more than a dozen blazes that formed a hellish, spidery pattern of luminous orange covering at least 310 square miles of the drought-stricken region.

Firefighters ó who lost valuable time trying to persuade stubborn homeowners to leave ó were almost completely overwhelmed as gale-force winds gusting to 70 mph scattered embers onto dry brush, spawning multiple fires in the same area. California officials pleaded for help from fire departments in other states.

At least 14 fires were burning in Southern California, said Patti Roberts, spokeswoman for the Governorís Office of Emergency Services.

From San Diego to Malibu, more than 150 miles up the Pacific coast, more than 265,000 people in numerous communities were warned to leave their homes.

Authorities speculated that the Malibu blaze may have been caused by downed power lines.


Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company