MALIBU, Calif. — The 2018 Woolsey Fire killed three people and burned 100,000 acres. To this day, the remaining burned trees pose a threat.
Forty years ago, when Richard Kronman bought a bachelor pad in Malibu, he planted several California Redwoods on the edge of his property. Back then, they were just two-feet-tall saplings ready to grow and weather many storms to come, just like him.
The time to say goodbye finally came this month.
“Have you ever put down a dog? That’s what it feels like,” Kronman said.
The trees were burned during the Woolsey Fire, which also took the home where Kronman started his family. Like so many of his neighbors, he’s rebuilding.
“Every sub, every division that you’re working with to get this thing done, there’s always something that kind of rears its ugly head up,” Kronman said.
The move in date keeps getting pushed back while expenses mount.
Malibu’s fire safety liaison, Chris Brossard, secured grant money to remove Kronman’s damaged trees and other hazardous trees across the city — a small gift to a community recovering.
“I met a few people who said they were underinsured, so they don’t have the money to rebuild,” Brossard said.
Removing dead and dying trees cuts down on fuel before fire season and prevents dangerous collapses. It’s not just burned trees they’re after, but rather problem trees of all kinds.
Even if Brossard hits his goal, removing 100 trees before the grant money runs outs, there will still be more burned ones left over.
“Once Malibu completely rebuilds … you’re still going to see subtle signs from here to there,” Brossard added.
The scars left by the Woolsey Fire are as deep rooted as a mature Redwood.
“Emotionally, it’s already taken everything,” Kronman said. “You can’t replace three generations of photos, of memories.”