Robert Kerbeck, Acclaimed Author of Malibu Burning, Predicted Current Horrific Fire Season as the New Normal

Robert Kerbeck, Acclaimed Author

Malibu Burning: The Real Story Behind LA’s Most Devastating Wildfire

Robert Kerbeck (right) and Priscilla Presley (left)

Robert Kerbeck (left) & LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (right)

Malibu burning during the 2018 Woolsey Fire.

A few months ago in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Kerbeck said, “I fear extreme fires are going to be the new normal.”

LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, September 22, 2020 / — Today, Robert Kerbeck, acclaimed author, is the recipient of a 2020 Readers’ Favorite Award as the Silver Medalist in Nonfiction for his book, “Malibu Burning: The Real Story Behind LA’s Most Devastating Wildfire.” Readers’ Favorite describes Malibu Burning as “heartbreaking” and “gripping from the first page.” Ever since its release, Malibu Burning has come to critical acclaim, receiving a Best of Los Angeles Award, an IPPY Award, and being named a finalist for Foreword Book of the Year.

Fire season in California looks different today—hotter temperatures, bigger fires, terrible air quality. But Kerbeck predicted all this in Malibu Burning. A few months ago in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, the “bible of the book business,” Kerbeck said, “I’m worried about the planet becoming hotter and drier. I fear extreme fires are going to be the new normal.” Sadly, Kerbeck was right. On Sept. 9, the massive August Complex became the largest fire in California’s history. Eight of the 10 largest fires have occurred in only the last decade, costing tens of billions of dollars and killing hundreds of people. Kerbeck said that while governments may not be able to stop wildfires, they can better prepare homeowners, communities, and agencies in order to mitigate the damage. “Homeowners need to recognize that many of us are now living in wildfire susceptible areas,” Kerbeck said. “This means eliminating flammable trees and building materials, and installing ember resistant vents. By clearing your trees and brush, you give yourself, your neighbors, and the fire department a fighting chance to save homes.”

This self-reliance served Kerbeck well: his was one of the only homes left standing in his neighborhood after his family fought off the fire. This message of preparation is essential to Malibu Burning, but just as important is Kerbeck’s focus on community, resilience, and hope. Yes, Malibu Burning is about an incredibly damaging natural disaster. But it’s also about the power of ordinary citizens working tirelessly to help each other. It’s about strength, and healing, and re-building. This is a critically important book for our time, as much for its insights into the Malibu community as for its information on fire safety and prevention.


Robert Kerbeck

Robert Kerbeck is the founder of the Malibu Writers Circle and a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. On November 9, 2018, Robert, along with his wife and teenage son, fought to save their home from the deadly Woolsey fire, the worst wildfire in Los Angeles history. It burned 100,000 acres, destroyed more than 2,000 structures, and killed three people before firefighters were able to control the blaze. More than 250,000 people were forced to evacuate, but some Malibu citizens stayed behind to protect their homes. One of these accidental firefighters was Robert Kerbeck. His harrowing first-person account was read by over a million people as an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times. Based on that essay, comes his book, Malibu Burning: The Real Story Behind LA’s Most Devastating Wildfire. Kerbeck interviewed nearly every player in the fire from the LA County Supervisor to the Deputy Fire Chief to the Malibu City Manager, as well as many well-known people whose lives were affected. Celebrities who were interviewed or appear in the book include Bob Dylan, Joan Didion, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kevin Dillon, Matt Dillon, Julia Roberts, Anthony Kiedis, Chris Martin, Leonardo DiCaprio, and many others. Malibu Burning is a combination of investigative journalism and memoir, a series of stories of people involved with and impacted by the fire that ripped through Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Readers feel part of the dramatic, life-threatening journey portrayed through the stories of not just the celebrities but the teachers, gardeners, house cleaners, farmers—and children. This is more than a story about one of the world’s most famous communities; it's a human interest and survival tale anyone can relate to.

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Source: EIN Presswire