Homeless encampments have Malibu residents worried about fires

Malibu residents say the homeless crisis in their community has been putting their homes in danger. People living in encampments in the hillsides are cooking with portable stoves and over open flames, and that's a recipe for disaster.

Homeowner Lara Vidaurri said she reported the problem to the police a number of times last year, fearing a fire. She even went out and picked up the homeless people's trash herself.

On Monday a fire started near the Malibu Library crept up the hillside by her home and torched about 3 acres, forcing her and her neighbors to evacuate.

The fire made its way into the backyard of a home, but firefighters were able to put it out and no damage was done to any houses. Authorities haven't declared the cause of the fire, but residents suspect it started from a homeless encampment.

L.A. County Fire Department Inspector Gustavo Medina told the L.A. Times:

"We heard rumors that the fire was started because of a homeless encampment, but we still do not know. It's a growing concern people in Los Angeles County have."

Homeless person Arnold Morales has been living in Malibu for six years and told the Times six people were camping near the library when the fire started.

Morales says he knows about the camp because his friend used to sleep there, but he says he doesn't go there because it's public property:

"I wouldn't go live there. Not everybody who is homeless is like that. It's sad to see that happen."

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