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Burned out once, she'll rebuild again

October 22, 2007 |  3:55 pm

Robin Morgan, 69, stood on the driveway at the edge of her 4-acre home atop Carbon Mesa Road in Malibu, as a water-dropping helicopter pounded a smoldering eucalyptus tree a few yards above her property. Some of the nearby slopes had been charred the night before.

Morgan said the scene reminded her a little bit of 1993, when another big fire swept through Malibu and destroyed hundreds of homes, including hers, and rendering the landscape moonlike.

But Morgan said she wouldn't live anywhere else.

"The sky is blue, the ocean is crystal-clear, you can see the boats from here," she said. "It's just a pleasure, except on a day like this."

Fourteen years ago, Morgan bided her time before fleeing her canyon paradise. Her barn was crowned with flames, she recalled, and her pet donkeys hoofed it down the canyon in panic.

She only left after a sheriff's deputy told her, "If you don't leave now, you're going to fry."

It took nine months to rebuild her home last time, she said. And if it burns again, she will rebuild again, she said.

"I'm just so happy," she said. "I don't have bumper-to-bumper neighbors, I don't have to battle traffic, I'm just spoiled. I got the world by the tail, except for the fires."

-Hector Becerra