Mala grew up in the semi-rural Los Angeles County area of La Habra Heights, and participated in fuel reduction, preparing for evacuation, and community emergency planning from an early age. She earned a BS from Harvey Mudd College and has since worked as an Engineer, Computer Programmer, Network Support, and eventually settled into higher education to support technology in education.
After living in Altadena’s LA County community for over 20 years, Mala and her family moved to the WUI community of Pasadena Glen in the foothills above Pasadena, partially within the Congressional Boundary of the Angeles National Forest.
As the 2009 Station Fire approached, Mala and her neighbors started building their own Fire Safe Council to prepare for future fires. The Pasadena Glen Fire Safe Council has been very successful both in mitigating flammable fuel and in educating residents about defensible space, home hardening, and other disaster prep topics, especially communication. Mala has also completed CERT training and regularly writes articles and posts for publication on social media or in local on-paper media.