Third Body Discovered in Southern California's Woolsey Fire Zone

Three people have died in the Woolsey Fire, which started in Ventura County and spread into the Malibu area

The death toll in California's devastating November wildfires continued to grow with the discovery of a body in a burned house in Southern California's Woolsey Fire zone.

Law enforcement officers found the body Tuesday in a house in the 32000 block of Lobo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills, according to the county coroner's office. They responded to the area after family members of the resident requested  welfare check.

"They hadn't heard from the resident since Friday," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, adding that the resident appeared to live alone at the house.

Details about a cause of death were not immediately available, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the death appears to be related to the 97,600-acre Woolsey Fire.

The remains were located in debris on the property, located in the path of the fast-moving wildfire. Aerial video showed blackened hillsides, burned vehicles at at least two destroyed residences in the canyon area northwest of Los Angeles.

The fire started Thursday and, after jumping the 101 Freeway, moved quickly south toward the ocean, at times burning a 14-mile wide swath.

"It was surreal, when you look at the way it came over the mountain," McDonnell said. "Usually, fire comes down a canyon or maybe two canyons, and it may be a mile or two miles wide. When you look at just the scale, the intensity of the fire, the speed by which the fire moved... an exceptionally difficult fire to be able to fight no matter how many resources were out there." 

The deaths are part of a historic month of wildfires in California. At least 48 people have died in the Camp Fire that all but destroyed the Northern California town of Paradise, making it the deadliest fire in state history. 

On Friday, the remains of two people were found inside a burned vehicle in a long driveway in the 33000 block of Mulholland Highway. The Woolsey Fire burned through the area's mountains after it started Thursday in Ventura County. 

The Woolsey Fire was nearly 50-percent contained Wednesday morning. It has destroyed an estimated 435 structures and led to tens of thousands of evacuations.

Some evacuations were lifted Wednesday in Malibu, but firefighters are watching for hot spots that might be whipped up by Santa Ana winds. Gusts were expected to peak Wednesday morning before diminishing around midday.

Fall is historically one of the most dangerous times of the year for wildfires in California. Seven of the state's 10-most destructive wildfires occurred in October -- many fueled by monster winds, including Santa Ana gusts.

Through early November, Cal Fire has reported about 5,600 fires that burned more than 621,700 acres. During that same period last year, the agency reported 5,800 fire that burned 316,600 acres. Over the last five years, California has averaged 5,293 fires that burned 231,400 acres during that interval.

Contact Us