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

Northern California Wildfire Killed Five People in Vehicles

Northern California Wildfire Killed Five People in Vehicles

US President Donald Trump has blamed "gross mismanagement of forests" for the fires and threatened to cut off federal support. Firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place Friday, Cal Fire Cpt.

California is experiencing one of its worst fire years ever, with 621,743 acres (251,610 hectares) burned through Sunday in areas covered by Cal Fire, almost twice the amount during the same period of 2017 and almost triple the five-year average. Three more were found outside a residence, and one inside a house.

Nine people have died in raging fires in California where 150,000 people have evacuated their homes.

The warm Santa Ana winds remained strong Friday morning, with gusts as high as 70 miles per hour forecast in certain regions around the two southern fires.

Reportedly, at least nine people in a mountain town.

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Authorities said four people had been killed inside their cars, four more outside either cars or homes and one person was killed inside a home.

Several evacuation sites were issuing protective masks for citizens, Ventura County Emergency Services said.

"We're working very hard to get people out".

Sherri Pritchard said she only had time to grab a few pictures before fleeing with her family and dogs, even leaving clothes behind. "I took a couple of videos of myself just to kind of have something to talk to and just tell my loved ones that I love them", she said. "It was chaos. I couldn't believe what people were doing".

Captain Scott McLean, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also said there was "really no firefight involved", explaining the crews had to give up attacking the flames and turn their attention to helping people get out alive.

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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. Officials have put most of Northern California is under a Red Flag Warning, which means "extreme fire behaviour" can occur within 24 hours. That's equal to about 60 football fields per minute.

The Hill Fire had consumed 10,000 acres, or 15 square miles, according to Cal Fire, though the Ventura County Fire Department reported no injuries or structure losses at a Thursday night press conference.

Hear more from Bass and see footage of the devastation above. Drought-stricken fuels, Santa Ana wind conditions, low relative humidity, high temperatures: "it's a recipe for fire", said VCFD Assistant Chief Chad Cook, according the Ventura County Star.

A massive wildfire burned out of control across California, including one that spurred the evacuation of 75,000 homes near a city that was already reeling from a mass shooting. Parts of that major freeway were closed in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, fire officials said.

Reality TV celebrity Kim Kardashian-West, who lives in an area known as Hidden Hills in Los Angeles county, was among those forced to evacuate their homes, People magazine reported. She had to turn her vehicle around and head in another direction to escape, but that all the while, it "scared me to death".

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Clayton said that the public is still advised that the area remains closed as investigations are ongoing at the crime scene. Police were forced to shoot the man, who continually made stabbing gestures at them, near a burning vehicle .

"We're just hoping that our brand new home that we were hoping to move into tomorrow is not burned to the ground", Winstead said.

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