Rebuilding in North Ranch after Woolsey Fire


Photo by Alexandria Ibarra- Features Editor

Rising from the ashes: The North Ranch community begins rebuilding process after the Woolsey Fire.

Alexandria Ibarra, Features Editor

Homeowners in the North Ranch area of Thousand Oaks affected by the Woolsey Fire in 2018 were issued permits to rebuild in 2020.

“It was extremely difficult to find somewhere to stay after the fire,” Adjunct Philosophy Professor Micah Daily said. “There were a lot of people displaced.” 

As of the beginning of the year, five homes have received permits to rebuild, one of which is located in the North Ranch community of Thousand Oaks. 

When the Woolsey Fire tore through Los Angeles and Ventura Counties on Nov. 8, 2018, 31 homes were fully destroyed, 14 partially destroyed and two commercial buildings were destroyed in Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village alone, Marjan Behzadi, permit process manager for the City of Thousand Oaks said. 

“We immediately formed a group of staff to clean all properties of debris, so that the homeowners could rebuild,” Behzadi added.

The City of Thousand Oaks is waiving the planning fees and reducing the impact fee, in aims to simplify the process and make it more affordable for those affected by the fire, Behzadi said. 

The build fee could not be waived but “we’re dedicated to meeting with homeowners and architects to make it easier on the homeowners,” Behzadi added. 

When homeowners are ready to rebuild, Behzadi is the point of contact to begin the process. 

If the house was fully destroyed, the original floor plans will receive faster approval for the rebuild than an entirely new home design, which takes about four to six weeks.   

Before moving to Sherman Oaks, Daily lived in Simi Valley for eight months with lesser-than-usual living conditions and a more congested commute.

The City of Thousand Oaks is working closely with the Ventura County Long Term Recovery Group to aid in rebuilding homes throughout Ventura County. 

The Ventura County Long Term Recovery Group is an organization that helps people affected by the Woolsey Fire, Thomas Fire, and Hill Fire. They work to assist people in finding temporary housing, guidance for rebuilding, and emotional and wellness support.

Behzadi is also part of a grassroots community coalition that is working to help assist the people who lost their homes during the fires.

“I moved to Simi Valley for 8 months with no kitchen,” Daily said.

Though Daily chose not to go through the process of rebuilding, she has instead struggled with high rent prices and receiving housing approval for her two dogs. 

After the fire, rent prices in affected regions such as Malibu that were once $1,500 went up to at least $5,000 due to the high demand for alternative housing after many were displaced from the fires, Daily said.