Nine dead as California fires continue to rage

Nine dead as California fires continue to rage

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.

Diane Forsman lives in New Hampshire and says she's been trying to get information about her 83-year-old mother, who lives in the community of Magalia near the devastated town of Paradise.

An evacuation site was at capacity at the Thousand Oaks Teen Centre, which had also served as a family assistance and reunification site following the shooting.

Some 75,000 homes were ordered evacuated in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, with the Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeting: "imminent threat", adding that "Malibu lakes residents must leave area immediately".

Typically, for Los Angeles at least, the serious headlines are interspersed with others reporting that the mansion from the television series The Bachelor is burning, or that the homes of former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and pop icon Cher, are at risk.

Also burning in Ventura County was the Hill Fire, which had torched 10 000 acres (4047 hectares) by Thursday night, fire officials said.

A state of emergency has been declared for Butte County due to the effects of the Camp Fire, which began around 6:30 a.m. Thursday and quickly spread, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

The LA County Sheriff's Office said it was receiving "many emergent phone calls" from people who "need our help to evacuate" and urged motorists in the area to be aware of emergency vehicles.

"These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday", he said.

While not as big as the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire, which now measures approximately 8,000 acres, is in a much more densely populated area.

Garland Sanchez of Magalia stood in the dark early Friday with two other men on Bruce Road in Chico looking east toward the Camp Fire.




The full extent of the destruction in the county was still unknown, but authorities said they believe as many as 2,000 buildings have been destroyed - most of those in Paradise.

Captain Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the fire near the town of Paradise has grown to almost 110 square miles.

Satellite footage shows how rapidly the fire grew in California.

.

Maclean said an as-yet unspecified number of civilians and firefighters were injured, and that it could be days before authorities would know of any fatalities.

Paradise is a small city in California, and has limited escape routes which has made leaving hard.

The entire town was ordered evacuated, setting off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got struck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee foot. There were ten experimental nuclear reactors at the lab, one of which went into partial meltdown on July 12, 1959.

"It's very chaotic", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol.

Butte County Sherriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record that "it's bad".

The hospital was later destroyed, Mike Mangas, a spokesman for operator Dignity Health, told Action News Now.

It was one of three major blazes burning across California Friday that officials were concerned about. Her deck provided a strong vantage point to monitor the spread of the fire.

Wind gusts of 50 to 70 miles per hour (80 to 113 kph) were expected in the mountains of Ventura County and up to 50 miles per hour in its valleys and coastal areas, the NWS said.

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