Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

California wildfire pushes toward tony Malibu, Pacific Ocean

Medical personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise Calif. on Thursday Medical personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise Calif. on Thursday
Patty Aguilar | 10 November, 2018, 14:50

One CBS reporter said she has seen rabbits cowering from the smoke, and running around in confusion.

"We are still reeling, but we are also very resilient", she said.

"It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us", police officer Mark Bass said. Since it started, the blaze grew to nearly 140 square miles, destroyed more than 6,700 structures - almost all of them homes - and was burning completely out of control.

The Woolsey Fire appeared to be the more risky of the two blazes, and was burning south through the Kanan Road corridor toward Malibu and the ocean. Around 150,000 people have also been evacuated from their homes.

Debbie Sneed-Barnett and her husband, Mike Barnett, slept in their minivan in the Pierce College evacuation center's parking lot with their three boys - ages 4, 5 and 11 - two dogs and a cat. "Please keep Paradise and all the first responders in your prayers".

Fire officials have also issued evacuation notices for parts of Chico, a town of 93,000 people north of Sacramento. It was burning in the same area impacted by the 2013 Springs Fire where there was "sparse fuel", fire officials said Friday.

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

Cinders crawled along the ground and up trees as she fled with her mother and grandmother. "There's nothing much left standing", said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesman Scott Maclean.

"It's probably gone already".

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There are evacuation orders for Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley.

The Concow School sent its 60 students home, but many faculty members are anxious about their homes, said Golden Feather Union Elementary School District Superintendent Josh Peete.

"Most of them were immobile, with walkers or spouses that were bedridden, so we were trying to get additional units to come and try and help us, just taking as many as we could", he said. So you take it personally and we haven't really had time to reflect. Right now, 500 firefighters are working to put out the conflagration, with support from 100 other law enforcement officials. Capt. John Gaddie said.

This makes it perhaps the most destructive fire in a century.

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. A temporary refuge has been created in a Walgreens to house people until they can leave for a safer area.

California wildfire season should now be approaching their conclusion, as Autumn yields the general end point for the driest time of year. Flames were feet away, smoke was thick, cars weren't moving and people were panicking. She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety, she said.

Aside from the winds, low relative humidity in the area was making firefighters' jobs harder, and the area was under a red flag warning Thursday. Gusts have reached speeds of 65 miles per hour.

It reached the edge of Chico, a city of 90,000 people Thursday night.

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