Death Toll Rises To Nine As California Wildfires Continue

Adjust Comment Print

Fire officials ordered the evacuation of large swaths of the beachside city of Malibu Friday as a raging fire jumped the US 101 Freeway west of Los Angeles and raced toward the sea and the community famed for its surf and celebrity homes.

Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richardson says 45,000 people in Ventura County and 43,000 more in Los Angeles County were ordered to evacuate overnight.

"Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests". The blaze sent residents fleeing, and now threatens the city of Chico, home to 90,000 people.

At one burned-out house, flames still smoldered inside what appeared to be a weight room.

The fire rapidly climbed into the Santa Monica Mountains and raced toward the coast.

The 8100 hectare Camp Fire, which started on Thursday near Camp Creek, has destroyed the town of Paradise, where at least five people were killed.

The fires, one in the north of the state and another to the south near Los Angeles, are moving fast, driven by strong winds.

Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers).

As of 5:30 a.m. ET, the fire was 0% contained.

On Thursday, as flames engulfed Paradise, frantic residents racing to safety plunged into the thick smoke that darkened the daytime sky and made driving hard. But winds that drove the ferocious flames have eased. "It was chaos. I couldn't believe what people were doing".

"The town is devastated, everything is destroyed", said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott Maclean. "Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", he said.

The town saw 6,700 homes and businesses ravaged by the fire, one of the most destructive in state history. That's equal to about 60 football fields per minute.

Fire officials said they expected it to burn all the way to the ocean.

(Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP) The Woolsey Fire is seen looking towards the west valley area on November 9, 2018 in Porter Ranch, California.

The "Woolsey Fire" has jumped Highway 101 near the town of Agoura Hills and portions of the main coastal north-south artery have been shut down, triggering mandatory evacuations, including the entire city of Malibu.

One of the fires broke out Thursday north-west of Los Angeles and roared south, jumping the U.S. 101 freeway early Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Los Angeles County, Ventura County and L.A. city fire departments are working the blaze.

"Fire is burning out of control, heading into populated areas of Malibu".

Malibu and Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, are home to hundreds of celebrities and entertainment executives attracted by ocean views, rolling hills and large, secluded estates. The destruction caused Paradise to not just postpone Friday's playoff opener, but completely abandon the idea of going forward with the season.

"We're just hoping that our brand new home that we were hoping to move into tomorrow is not burned to the ground", Winstead said.

Mrs Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou left a frantic voicemail to family saying they needed to get out.

Comments