California wildfires turn deadly as thousands evacuate homes

Posted November 14, 2018

The Camp Fire has killed at least nine people in Paradise and destroyed 6,453 structures.

In the midst of the chaos, officials said they could not provide figures on the number of wounded, but County Cal Fire Chief Darren Read said that at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.

The fire in Paradise was reported shortly after daybreak Thursday.

With the devastation and loss of life in the Northern California fire, "it's evident from that situation statewide that we're in climate change and it's going to be here for the foreseeable future", he said.

It is one of three major blazes that firefighters are battling across the state. The two fires erupted Thursday as warnings of extreme fire danger covered much of the state because of dry weather and blowing winds.

He later tweeted a message that said early communication issues were resolved "leading to an effective response by law and fire professionals".

Evacuation orders included the entire town of Malibu, which is home to 13,000 residents.

The Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles, is smaller but threatens hundreds of thousands of people as flames surge toward the Pacific.

"I heard the flames have hit our property at our home in Hidden Hills but now are more contained and have stopped at the moment. I pray everyone is safe", she said.

The remains of five of the victims in Northern California were discovered in or near burned out cars, three outside residences and one inside a home, Honea also said.

An estimated 52,000 people evacuated in Butte County, where Paradise is located.

He said: "We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road. It will kick this fire up, start new fires, or a combination of both". There also were reports of flames ripping through an apartment building and a mobile home park, along with people calling authorities to say they were trapped in burning structures.

Tens of thousands of people are displaced from their homes as these fires continue to rage.

The mayor of Paradise said that only 10 to 20 percent of homes in the town were left standing.

Heavy smoke and strong winds hampered visibility for crews on the fire lines and residents trying to evacuate fire zones.

Two other fires broke out in southern California, one in Ventura County near Thousand Oaks, where a Marine Corps veteran shot dead 12 people in a country music bar on Wednesday night. CNN also reported that there have been 5 casualties as a result of the fire. The Woolsey Fire has torched about 35,000 acres while the Hill Fire was 4,531 acres.

Elsewhere, the Hill Fire in Ventura County's Santa Rosa Valley had charred about 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) as of Friday evening, according to Cal Fire.

Early on Saturday, fire was nearing Pepperdine University, a private residential college with 7,700 students, where students remained sheltered on the school's main campus in Malibu. The flames turned what it touched to ash as it forced a citywide Malibu evacuation and sent residents scrambling to find a way out of the burn area.

Evacuees trapped in traffic abandoned their cars and ran with their children in tow as the Camp Fire quickly closed in in Northern California's Butte County.

"We knew Paradise was a prime target for forest fire over the years", he said.