At least 9 dead in fires in California, while tens of thousands of people are fleeing their homes


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Of David K. Li, Doha Madani and Phil Helsel

At least nine people were killed in a rapid fire in northern California as two fires in the Los Angeles area forced thousands of people to evacuate Malibu and neighboring communities while homes were overwhelmed by fire, the authorities said Friday.

The campfire in Butte County, north of Sacramento, was responsible for the nine deaths, including five people who were found dead either inside the car or near them in the city of Paradise, sheriff-coroner Kory Honea from Butte County said. Three others were found dead outside the residences and one inside a house.

Heaven was everything, but canceled. The mayor of the city said that from 80 to 90 percent of residents have lost their homes. "There is not much left standing," said a state department official.

About 250,000 people in California were under the evacuation order due to the camp fire, about 90 miles north of Sacramento, the hillside fire at Thousand Oaks and the Woolsey Fire along the Los Angeles-Ventura County line. Woolsey Fire has accounted for about 200,000 evacuation orders, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

Last Friday, the bodies of two people were found near the Fire Woolsey, the sheriff's officials said. It was said that the Coroner Department of Coroner of Los Angeles County was investigating.

Californian governor Gavin Newsom, who is the governor-elect, issued an emergency proclamation for the Los Angeles and Ventura counties on Friday as Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires burned across the state.

Newsom also sent a letter asking President Donald Trump to issue a state presidential emergency statement, which would release more federal funds to fight fires and address the consequences.

Trump tweeted at the beginning of Saturday that "bad forest management" was to blame and threatened to stop funding.

The head of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Daryl Osby, could not say on Friday evening at a press conference how many structures had been lost. Officials plan to take advantage of a break in the winds on Saturday to change crews and put in place the perimeter check before the weather resumes on Sunday.

Osby emphasized the need for citizens who may still be in their homes to quickly evacuate if a mandatory evacuation order arrives.

"There are several cases where our firefighters have been hindered today by trying to enter to protect facilities just to confront people who have not been evacuated," Osby told reporters. "And when you do, it puts your life at risk and our firefighters are at risk."

The Woolsey fire

The city of Malibu ordered all 13,000 residents to evacuate on Friday, urging them to take the Pacific Coast Highway out of town and avoid the small canyon roads. The deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff knocked at the door, telling the residents that they should leave. The evacuation caused a traffic jam in the 21-mile section of PCH.

The fire broke out around 3:30 in the afternoon. Thursday near Simi Valley in Ventura County and quadrupled for size Friday morning, reaching 35,000 acres.

Strong winds were driving south and west on Friday, to the exclusive communities of Malibu Canyon and Agoura Hills.

"Wind-blown conditions … are ripe conditions for explosive fire behavior," he told the Los Angeles firefighter Erik Scott, NBC Los Angeles. "This is the new normality: when we have conditions like this, when it is such an incredible wind, this brings us to a different caliber, so it has become a much more difficult condition".

With Woolsey Fire so close to Hill Fire, which started in Thousand Oaks, regional resources have been reduced to a minimum. "Challenges are the number one competing resources," said Vice President David Richardson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Image: Woolsey Fire
The Woolsey Fire is seen looking towards the west of the valley on November 9, 2018 in Porter Ranch, California.Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Khloe Kardashian, who lives near the fire department in Calabasas, tweeted on Friday that she had not been ordered to evacuate, but was getting ready. Later, she tweeted"I just came back with my clothes on my back," adding that he bundled what looked like his daughter's entire bedroom into his vehicle.

Other celebrities, including the singer Lady Gaga and the actress Alyssa Milan, he tweeted about leaving their homes while the fires were spreading. TMZ reported that Caitlyn Jenner's home was burnt, but a Jenner spokeswoman told NBC News that the reality star had no information about her home in Malibu.

The historic Paramount Ranch Western Town, where shows like "Westworld" and "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" were filmed, burned, according to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area official Twitter account.

The Pepperdine University of Malibu canceled the lessons on Friday. The school was already in mourning for the 18-year-old student Alaina Housley, who was killed Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

The Camp Fire

It is estimated that 90,000 acres have been burned by the deadly fire that prompted the California National Guard to send 100 guards to aid in evacuations, authorities said.

Almost all the facilities in the small town of Paradise, without legal personality, with a population of 27,000, were destroyed, officials said. It is estimated that 6,713 facilities were destroyed as a result of the fire, which grew to cover 140 square miles, officials said.

"The city is devastated, everything is destroyed," said Cal Fire deputy chief Scott McLean. "He did not stay very long."

With an estimated 6,453 single-family residences and 260 destroyed commercial buildings, McLean said the camp fire "will be the most destructive fire in the history of California".

The only hospital in town, the Adventist Health Feather River, safely evacuated all 60 of its patients on Thursday. The hospital was "badly damaged" by the flames, said emergency services spokesman Bryan May.

The Feather River hospital is on fire when the campfire rages in Paradise, California, on November 8, 2018.
The Feather River Hospital was engulfed in flames as the campfire raged through Paradise, California, on November 8, 2018.Josh Edelson / AFP – Getty Images

At least three firefighters were injured in Butte County, Cal Fire officials said.

Governor-elect Newsom, who acts as governor while governor Jerry Brown is out of state, has called the state of emergency in Butte County.

The cause of the campfire has not been determined. The Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said in a statement Friday that there was an interruption on a transmission line in Butte County at 6:15 on Thursday, and Cal Fire says that fire started at 6:33. PG & E said the damage was a transmission tower about a mile north-east of the town of Pulga, where campfire started.


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