'Dude, we're done': The Malibu residents who stay behind to fight the flames

Mark Mackey thought he would be safe from the flames at his seaside Malibu home.

The water is just a few metres away and he had been through big bushfires before.

"But there was a point I thought if those eucalyptus go up, dude, we're done," he said, whiskey in hand, reflecting on the events of the afternoon before.

The fire had raced down the tinder dry nearby hills and surrounded his little community in Decker Canyon.

Photo Malibu resident Mark Mackey fought fires to protect homes in his small Decker Canyon community.

A man stands next to a road with charred landscape behind himABC News: James Glenday

The cliff, the escape route to the beach below, was suddenly alight.

It is now a tangled mess of burned wooden stairs and smouldering shrubs.

"Luckily we jumped over the fence and our neighbour had a boatload of hoses and a lot of water pressure," Mr Mackey said.

"We'd never seen anything like this."

Photo David Andrews joined Mark Mackey in fighting fires in their gated community.

A man wearing a beanie stands in front of a burnt homeABC News: James Glenday

He and a friend, David Andrews, fought the fire for several hours, dousing falling embers and hosing down rooves.

"The mountains above us were just engulfed in flames," Mr Andrews said.

"There was one point we couldn't breathe anymore … but we ran back inside for a bit.

"All in all we are okay, we saved homes."

Video 1:08 11 dead as wildfires rage across California

11 dead as wildfires rage across CaliforniaABC News

Two properties in the gated community are now just charred, smoking rubble but all the others seem lush, green and completely untouched.

The entire city of Malibu, home to many Hollywood celebrities, has been evacuated.

The main highway through it is now only filled with police cars and fire trucks.

Photo Two houses in the gated community are now just charred smoking rubble.

Smoke rises from the burned remains of a house in MalibuABC News: James Glenday

When you drive up into the nearby hills, which are all blackened and burned, it seems fortunate more homes on the luxurious strip of California coastline weren't lost.

Powerlines are down, tangled across many roads and small remnants of flame flicker in the bush nearby.

Firefighters are dousing what they can, so too the remaining residents of Decker Canyon.

They know more dry, windy weather is forecast.

Video 0:32 Firenado appears in the midst of California fireground

Firenado appears in the midst of California firegroundABC News

"I'm worried about the next few days", Mr Mackey said.

"We gotta get the embers out."

And does he have any regrets about not evacuating early and staying to fight?

Photo The southern California fire destroyed some homes near Malibu but left the neighbouring property standing.

An aerial view of a home destroyed by fire while the neighbouring properties remain standing.ABC News

Well, yes, sort of.

"I didn't have enough gear. I needed more gear," Mr Mackey said.

"Next time, though, next time."

Photo The hills above the sea caught fire are now blackened and burned from the fires.

Burned hills overlooking a seaside community in MalibuABC News: James Glenday

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

NEXT Children and baby airlifted from burning north Queensland mountain