Fire passes on after ravaging Malibu

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The Independent Online
A FIREFIGHTER in front of a wall of flames in Malibu, California, yesterday, before the firestorm that swept through one of the world's smartest resorts abated, leaving burnt-out mansions in its wake writes Phil Reeves.

After rampaging for hours through the Californian coastal town, destroying the homes of several Hollywood stars, the fire cut back into the mountain canyons north of Los Angeles, where it was still burning last night.

The streets of Malibu, usually teeming with tourists, star-spotters and surfers, remained desolate yesterday as the authorities refused to allow its 15,000 residents to return, for fear that they would obstruct damping- down operations.

The strong, hot Santa Ana winds that drove the blaze into Malibu died away but were forecast to return tomorrow. In eight days, more than dollars 1bn damage has been caused by fires across southern California.

But some were able to celebrate. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, was seen shaking hands with firefighters who saved his home.

Stars' homes burnt, page 11

(Photograph omitted)