Camp Fire becomes one of the state’s most deadly and destructive fires


Raging wildfires across California have killed at least five people and driven 157,000 people from their homes, fire officials said Friday.

Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers).

Scott Maclean, the state's forestry and fire protection spokesman, said a number of civilians and firefighters had been injured in the fire north of Sacramento but it would be days before the authorities knew whether anyone had died.

By Friday morning, the town's main road was littered with downed trees and power lines.

"We were surrounded by fire".

The Butte County Sheriff's office said the victims were found dead in vehicles that had been burned by the Camp Fire that left a trail of destruction in its path.

The wind-driven blaze also spread to the west and reached the edge of Chico, a city of 90,000 people.

Cal Fire's Bill Murphy says winds have calmed down in the valley but that there are "shifting, erratic winds" with speeds of up to 45mph (72 km/h) along ridge tops.

In Paradise, Bass evacuated his family and then returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man trying to carry his bedridden wife to safety. The recording shows fire claiming houses and trees, and sparks blowing across the road in front of them.

Ms McLean estimated that the lost buildings numbered in the thousands in Paradise, about 180 miles north-east of San Francisco. "It's that kind of devastation", he said.

As wildfires continue to race across the tinder-dry California countryside, cities stand little chance of turning the ravaging flames aside.

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Two fast-moving wildfires that exploded in the hills of Southern California are forcing thousands of evacuations, including the entire city of Malibu and a sprawling naval base.

Early Friday the Los Angeles Fire Department tweeted that the fire was headed to the ocean, declaring: "Imminent threat!"

The beachside town of Malibu, known as the home of many Hollywood stars, has about 13,000 residents and lies along 21 miles of coast at the southern foot of the mountain range.

The Ventura County Fire Department said evacuation orders were issued for some 75,000 homes in Ventura County and neighboring Los Angeles County.

The fire broke out on Thursday north west of Los Angeles and roared south, jumping the U.S. 101 freeway early on Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Hill Fire is another battle firefighters in Ventura County are contending with.

Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the fire has placed millions of people under red flag warnings.

The L.A. County Fire Dept. Friday confirmed reports of a critical burn patient in the 33000 block of Mulholland in Malibu.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Flames consume a Kentucky Fried Chicken as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. "We're working very hard to get people out. I can't see, and maybe I should humble myself and get in this woman's vehicle". "The town center is completely on the ground". Many are from the town of Paradise that has a population of 26,000 people and is believed to be completely decimated by the flames.

"Things started exploding", resident Gina Oviedo said.

"They were abandoned because traffic was so bad, backed up for hours", Bass said. Twitter has also been playing host to users who are looking for loved ones missing in the fire. Chico police officer John Barker and his partner evacuated several seniors from an apartment complex. "The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out". "It was absolutely dark", said resident Mike Molloy, who said he made a split decision based on the wind to leave Thursday morning, packing only the minimum and joining a sea of other vehicles. Additionally, at least 2,000 structures have been destroyed, while 15,000 remain threatened, filling shelters and closing roads across the area.