After The Wildfire

The True Story of a Phoenix Rising From the Ashes


What would you do if you lost everything you owned in a single night? Can you even imagine what that means?  Do you realize what everything is?  What if you were out of town for a long weekend and came home to find a wildfire had torn thru your neighborhood and flattened your home and destroyed everything in it?

What would you do?  Would you laugh?  Would you cry? Would you drown your sorrows with alcohol or bury yourself in drugs? Would you rise above or would you hide behind some sort of victim mentality? Victim or Victor...which would it be?


Meet Dave

Dave is my super cool 80 year old landlord. He lost everything in the 2007 Corral Canyon fire and is still struggling to get his house rebuilt. My name is Jeff, I lived in the guesthouse and lost everything as well, but I'm still a young man, I could start over somewhere else, but Dave cannot. All he wants in life is to get his house rebuilt and it's my intention to help him do that.

Because we live in a high fire hazard area, Dave couldn't get standard replacement cost insurance coverage for his home. The good old state of California supplied insurance, but not nearly enough.  Due to Dave's financial reality, we've abandoned plans to have the house we've had drawn built and are now pursuing a modular home option (factory built), but Dave is still considerably short.

I've written a book about my path to Malibu and the  experiences and adventures I’ve had since the fire and the challenges we’ve had trying to get the house built.

November 2007 brought Santa Ana winds and drunken idiots to Malibu. A group of young men decided to have a party in a cave up in a mountain canyon while 80 mph winds were ravaging the canyon. These men broke every posted law that trespassing, no fires, no smoking, no alcohol and the results were devastating to nearly 300 people who lost their homes.

Fighting The Blaze

Helicopter water drop

This is me and my boy Wendel.  Join us on our journey, After The Wildfire.

I lost everything I owned on November 24, 2007...everything except a suitcase, my new car (and a five year payment plan) and my dog Wendel.  After coming to the realization that my new circumstances were actually an opportunity to experience life in a way I never have, I left the comfort of my 9-5 job and hit the road. 

I spent two months on the Big Island of Hawaii, two months on Maui, and then, after returning to Malibu briefly, I loaded my dog Wendel in the back seat of my car and we traveled 11 states.  We saw some amazing things and met lots of interesting characters on the way.  I expected that by the time my travels were over, we’d have a building permit and be ready to doesn’t always happen as expected...

I’ve included a photo album, which contains more than 300 photos and follows us on our journey.