California wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate, claim lives

10 November, 2018, 14:49 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire

That fire grew more than 20-fold in about six hours just before it overtook the town of Paradise, home to about 27,000 people.

The dead were found in the same part of Paradise, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said.

A wind-driven wildfire raged through Southern California communities on Friday, burning homes and forcing thousands of people to flee as it relentlessly pushed toward tony Malibu and the Pacific Ocean.

A combination of profoundly dry vegetation and heavy winds are contributing to the fire's explosive pattern.

Hospital workers and first responders evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital as the Camp Fire moves through the area on November 8, 2018 in Paradise, California.

On Friday morning, gruesomely burned cars littered the side of the road. A sooty squirrel scrambles up a blackened tree in a panic. A member of the town, Brynn Parrott Chatfield, shared a video of the fire while driving in a auto on Facebook. "It's very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary". Suddenly the vehicle breaks through a wall of smoke and emerges into the safety of a clear road. Its rapid growth and early-morning arrival means that residents didn't have much time to leave or firefighters time to prepare, leaving them to play a game of catch-up against an extremely active fire.

Only a day after it began, the blaze near the town of Paradise had grown to nearly 140 square miles (362 square kilometers), had destroyed more than 6,700 structures - almost all of them homes - and was burning completely out of control.

Paradise is a small city in California, and has limited escape routes which has made leaving hard.

Flames consume a home as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise.


Thick gray smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

'We're getting them on other vehicles with room. "We had to drive through flames to make it out safely", Hall told CNN via Instagram.

The blaze has also reportedly destroyed the Paramount Ranch in western California, where HBO series Westworld is filmed. The buildings were seen in movies and television series such as "The Mentalist" and "Weeds".

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott said Friday firefighters are focused on saving lives and are still rescuing people from fires. The extent of the injuries and damage was not immediately known.

The two fires, the Woolsey and the Hill fires, had caused the evacuation of 250,000 in Southern California, Cal OES said.

Typically, for Los Angeles at least, the serious headlines are interspersed with others reporting that the mansion from the television series The Bachelor is burning, or that the homes of former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and pop icon Cher, are at risk.

"It is critical that residents pay close attention to evacuation orders", the Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted.

The fire crossed USA 101 a few miles east of Thousand Oaks - the site of Wednesday night's bar shooting - and was headed south to the Pacific coast, in the direction of Malibu Creek State Park and Malibu city, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

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