Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

California wildfires: The most destructive in state's history

California wildfires: The most destructive in state's history

Four people were found dead in vehicles that were overcome by flames and one body was discovered near the vehicles, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said. The death toll has already reached 23.

Dubbed Camp Fire, the blaze ravaging the northern part of the state has become the most destructive in its history. He said 228 people were still unaccounted for.

Sol Bechtold drove from shelter to shelter looking for his mother, a 75-year-old widow whose house burned down along with the rest of her neighbourhood.

Some people, attempting to flee the fire, were stuck in traffic and left their cars behind to run with their families.

"I'm also under a dark emotional cloud". Your mother's somewhere and you don't know where she's at.

Cher wrote on Twitter that she was anxious about her house "but there is nothing I can do".

He added: "I've got to stay positive".

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Officials and relatives held out hope that many of those unaccounted for were safe and simply had no cellphones or other ways to contact loved ones. About 35 people have been reported missing, authorities said.

In Paris, President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds for Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties but later threatened on Twitter to withhold federal payments to California, claiming its forest management is "so poor".

In October, Trump made similar statements where he blamed California's management of its forests for a horrific fire season, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Fanned by high winds and fueled by low humidity and dry vegetation, California's fires have spread rapidly Thursday and overnight into Friday. From Sunday through Tuesday, winds are projected to jump to 30 to 40 miles per hour.

Two people were found dead in a wildfire in Southern California, where flames tore through Malibu mansions and working-class Los Angeles suburbs alike.

Lady Gaga, Mark Hammill, Kim Kardashian West and her sister Kourntey Kardashian also reported via social media they they have fled their homes due to the wildfires.

Officials said 109 square miles (282 kilometres) had burned north and east of the city, including in Malibu, home to many Hollywood stars. The fire was not a complete surprise, he said.

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The three fires began Thursday - the largest in Northern California, where a Sierra Nevada town of 27,000 was destroyed by a fast moving-fire that quickly grew into the state's most destructive on record. Firefighters now have the blaze 5 per cent contained.

A Red Flag warning will remain in effect in L.A. and Ventura counties through Tuesday as the region is hit with a unsafe combination of high winds and low humidity.

All told, a quarter-million people were under evacuation orders across the state, officials said.

Homes and other buildings in Paradise were still burning, and fire crews were trying to extinguish those blazes, said Scott McLean, a captain with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The large mobile home community of Seminole Springs, in the rugged Santa Monica Mountains north of Malibu, appeared devastated.

"Things are not the way they were 10 years ago".

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has urged residents to continue to heed evacuation orders and not return to their homes until told it is safe to do so.

Several people were found dead Thursday in the torched town of Paradise, which has been nearly entirely decimated by the Hill Fire, authorities said.

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"Our hearts are with those fighting the fires, the 52,000 who have evacuated, and the families of the 11 who have died". She said she has had a house in Malibu since 1972 and "can't bear the thought of there being no Malibu". "This is a devastating thing, and it's happening to so many people".

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