Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

California Wildfires: Malibu Evacuated As Three Fires Destroy More Than 30,000 Acres

A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise Calif. on Thursday Nov. 8 2018 Massive California fires destroy town, Malibu ordered to evacuate
Patty Aguilar | 12 November, 2018, 10:26

At least five people were killed when a raging wildfire engulfed their vehicles in the northern of the USA state of California, as two other blazes forced evacuation in the state, authorities said on Friday.

The fire ignited Thursday afternoon south of the city of Simi Valley, Ventura County officials said.

The director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services says fires across California have forced 157,000 people from their homes.

The Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire both broke out on the afternoon of November 8.

A fast-moving wildfire has advanced to the outskirts of the Northern California city of Chico, forcing thousands to flee after it left the nearby town of Paradise in ruins.

Cal Fire said the Camp Fire is only 5 percent contained.

The fire has already triggered overnight evacuations of an estimated 75,000 homes in western Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County.

Evacuations were ordered for all communities south of USA 101, including the entire city of Malibu, where the population of about 13,000 includes many celebrities.

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Malibu is one of the most in-demand locations in California for Hollywood stars seeking privacy and luxury, and has been home to Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt and a host of other celebrities. On Instagram she urged people to "pray for Calabasas". However, The Associated Press reported that the entire city of Malibu was under mandatory evacuation.

"I was frantic", she told the NY Daily News.

Her husband, the rapper Kanye West, said their family was "safe and close". The vehicles were overcome by the flames of the fire, which had grown to about 110 square miles and forced thousands to evacuate.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were located in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire", said the sheriff's office in a release, adding that identification could not be immediately made due to burn injuries.

That blaze has devastated the town of 27,000 people - with homes, supermarkets, restaurants and a retirement home among the buildings destroyed - and is moving north into Sierra Nevada foothill communities. Among those evacuated were all of the patients at the Feather River Hospital in Paradise.

Accidents gridlocked routes out of Paradise and residents abandoned their cars and fled on foot carrying children and pets, Reuters quoted local officials as saying.

When the order came to evacuate, it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents chose to leave at once, they said.

The hospital was totally destroyed, Mike Mangas, a spokesman for operator Dignity Health, said. "Many of our first responders haven't slept", Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks said during a news conference in Thousand Oaks, where the shooting took place. "You could feel it". Officials have put most of Northern California under a Red Flag Warning, which means "extreme fire behaviour" can occur within 24 hours.

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