Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Death Toll Rises To Nine As California Wildfires Continue

Death Toll Rises To Nine As California Wildfires Continue

The blaze also threatened parts of the nearby town of Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people earlier this week in a shooting rampage.

A fast-moving wildfire that ravaged a Northern California town Thursday sent residents racing to escape on roads that turned into tunnels of fire as thick smoke darkened the daytime sky, wiping out what a Cal Fire official said was a couple of thousand structures.

A raging wildfire in southern California has triggered a mandatory evacuation order for much of the beachside city of Malibu.

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.

More worrying is the Woolsey Fire, which threatens about 75,000 homes in both Ventura and Los Angeles Counties - including the entire city of Malibu.

The Woolsey Fire was zero percent contained as of 4 a.m. Friday after scorching 8,000 acres and destroying at least 30 homes in the two counties, fire officials said.

The fire in Paradise was reported shortly after daybreak in a rural area.

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Three-quarters of the city of 130,000 was under evacuation orders - and that likely included people affected by the shooting, Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox said. The size of the fire is about 110 square miles, he said Friday.

Butte County Sheriff's Office said that four of the dead were found dead in vehicles destroyed by flames and another near a vehicle.

A California fire official says six major fires are burning around the state, and characterized three of them as "critical".

A fierce wildfire is burning through Southern California's upscale beach resort of Malibu - home to many Hollywood stars - destroying buildings and forcing residents to flee.

That made it one of the most destructive blazes in state history, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire protection data.

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.

"It's devastating. It's like 'welcome to hell, ' " resident Cynthia Ball said about the dual disasters while she was outside the teen center serving as a shelter for evacuees.

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When Paradise was evacuated, the order set off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got struck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot.

A row of burned vehicles are seen on Skyway during the Camp Fire in Paradise.

A second fire, the Hill fire, burned 6,100 acres near Thousand Oaks.

"They will continue to save homes and do whatever they can until the work is done", L.A. County Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Trey Espy told CBS2.

Back in Butte County, concerned friends and family posted frantic messages on Twitter and other sites saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone.

Malibu and Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, are home to hundreds of celebrities and entertainment executives attracted by ocean views, rolling hills and large, secluded estates.

The Woolsey Fire broke out on Thursday and quickly jumped the 101 Freeway toward Malibu.

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