At least 5 dead in California wildfires

Minnie Murray
November 16, 2018

Fire officials say the Woolsey and Hill fires could force the evacuations of about 148,000 and structural losses are expected to be significant.

Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers), and investigators found five people dead in vehicles that were torched by the flames.

"I was frantic", she told the NY Daily News. Fire officials said it could take days to figure out how many people died.

In Southern California, authorities quickly issued evacuation orders on Thursday as fires erupted near Ventura County.

In the first 12 hours the Camp Fire burned 54,000 acres as it roared through Paradise, California destroying large sections of the city.

The Hill Fire is being slowed by passing through the burn scar of the 2013 Spring Fire, which lead to subsequent mudslides in the winter of that year.

The stranger ended up helping Miller pack up her mother and taking them to safety in Chico, which took three hours to travel the 14 miles from Paradise to Chico. "This fire moved so fast and grew so fast a lot of people got caught by it".

On Friday, officials ordered the evacuation of the star-studded beachside community of Malibu as a wildfire encroached upon it.

The fire placed 75,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties under evacuation orders Friday morning and was zero percent contained after scorching 8,000 acres, destroying multiple structures and threatening at least 30,000 homes in the two counties, authorities said.

Residents have now been ordered to evacuate from several more towns to the west of Thousand Oaks, including Calabasas immediately south of Highway 101 and Malibu on the coast, as well as from the western edge of Los Angeles.

In northern California, the Camp Fire, reportedly named by local officials, nearly completely destroyed the community of Paradise, fire captain Scott McLean told the Associated Press.

The Woolsey Fire started in Simi Valley Thursday, where it destroyed about 30 homes and burned 8,000 acres by early Friday.

The massive blaze spread north on Friday, prompting officials to order the evacuation of Stirling City and Inskip, two communities north of Paradise along the Sierra Nevada foothills. So far, there have been no fire-related fatalities or severe injuries, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Early Friday morning, the wildfire jumped the 101 in Ventura County into Agoura Hills, closing a 4-mile stretch of the highway.

While the cause of the fire was not known, Pacific Gas & Electric Company told state regulators it experienced an outage on an electrical transmission line near Paradise about 15 minutes before the blaze broke out.

Another neighbor said the fire was "like a freight train" and praised firefighters for saving so many homes.

"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.

Given the fires' rapid movement and volatile conditions, The Los Angeles Times is maintaining a live feed with the most current data available. In Malibu - which has been home to Hollywood stars including Tom Hanks and Dustin Hoffman - flames leaped over the USA 101 freeway to threaten some of the city's wealthiest neighborhoods.

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