California fires: nine dead, tens of thousands displaced

A fire continues in the south of the state while in the north, the "Campfire" is already one of the most destructive fires in the history of California, according to the forestry office.

The Monde.fr with AFP
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The fire is spreading at a very high speed and is now threatening Malibu, California, on November 9th.

The ravages of two fires continue in northern and southern California. At least nine people were killed in the fire, and the city of Paradise, 26,000, was partially destroyed. Thirty-five people were reported missing and firefighters wounded three in their ranks. "This event is the worst possible scenario: what we feared for a long time"Butte County Sheriff, Kory Honea, said at a Friday press conference: "Unfortunately, not everyone has escaped."

Fueled by strong winds, the disaster at the end of the season spread to the dawn of Friday at a very high speed, covering the small city of smoke and thick ash. Hundreds of houses have been destroyed, as well as a hospital, a petrol station, many vehicles and several restaurants. "I think we lost a high school and at least one of the elementary schools", Mayor of Paradise Jody Jones, quoted by the newspaper, said Los Angeles Times.

The flames descended so rapidly into Paradise that many motorists were forced to abandon their cars and flee on foot to the only mountain road that leaves Paradise. the Camp Fire it has devastated over 36,000 hectares and is already one of the most destructive fires in the history of California, according to the forest council. It was still out of control on Friday evening.

More than 2,200 firefighters were fighting the flames, supported by helicopters and oil tankers. "The entity of destruction we have seen is truly incredible and heartbreaking"said Mark Ghilarducci of the California Governor's Emergency Services Office.

A destroyed hospital

Another fire developed in southern California, a few miles from the Thousand Oaks bar, where a former soldier killed twelve people Wednesday night before committing suicide. This other incident has, according to the Californian authorities, reduced to smoking about thirty Malibu houses, and consumed about fifty kilometers2 of earth

Given the violence of the fire, the city of Malibu issued an evacuation order for the north of the resort, famous for its beaches. A portion of the city's population of 12,000 has no electricity, and local television showed long lines of cars leaving the city along the coastal road on Friday, the only exit left in Los Angeles. In total, around 200,000 people are subjected to evacuation orders facing the "Woolsey Fire" threat and 75,000 homes are threatened. Many celebrities, many to live in this opulent region, had to evacuate, like Kim Kardashian, the actress Alyssa Milano and the Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.

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Party Thursday afternoon in Simi Valley, the fire went through a highway, Highway 101, in several places. Another fire, the "hill fire", still in the county of Ventura, has destroyed more than 2,428 hectares, according to the authorities. California governor-elect Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in the "Hill Fire" and "Woolsey Fire" areas of the Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

In a tweet aired Saturday morning, US President Donald Trump punished poor forest management in California to explain these dramas. "Nothing explains these huge, deadly and expensive forest fires in California, except for a disastrous forest management", he wrote: "Billions of dollars are wasted every year, with so many lives lost, all because of poor forest management, just or there will be no more federal money!"

The state of natural calamity was declared this summer in California, facing fierce fires that resulted in the deaths of seven people and the evacuation of over 200,000 residents.

Medical teams move equipment while the Feather River in Paradise hospital was partially burned.

Noah Berger / AP

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