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California wildfires: 150,000 evacuated as death toll climbs

10 November 2018, 06:06 | Devin Moran

Flames consume a car dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise Calif. on Thursday

Flames consume a car dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise Calif. on Thursday

The Butte County Sheriff's office said the victims were mostly found dead in cars or outside their vehicles as they attempted to flee Paradise, a mountain town north of Sacramento.

Overnight, three rapid-moving fires spreading across California have destroyed thousands of structures and forced the evacuation of an estimated 157,000 people. The flames advanced towards the town, growing by 10,000 acres in 90 minutes.

Some of the evacuation orders were for residents within the City of Los Angeles in the West Hills area.

Some 20,000 people have been ordered to evacuate, according to the Houston Chronicle, and multiple highways in the area have been closed.

In Los Angeles, another, smaller fire in Griffith Park forced the Los Angeles Zoo to evacuate a number of show birds and some small primates on Friday as flames came within less than 2 miles (3 km) of the facility, zoo officials said in a statement.

The responding fire agencies from Ventura and Los Angeles Counties also consulted independent hazardous materials coordinators who agreed with the conclusion that toxic material from the site was unlikely to have been spread due to the fire. The cities of Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and Topanga were also under evacuation orders.

A former US Marine combat veteran opened fire in a bar packed with college students in the town on Wednesday night, killing 12 people and stunning a leafy community with a reputation for safety.

The fire remains at 5 percent contained.

The flames destroyed hundreds of homes, a hospital, a gas station, several restaurants and numerous vehicles in Paradise, officials said.

After shuffling schedules for the firefighters who would remain, UFA made a decision to send 11 people and three fire crews.




The fire is just one of a handful roaring across the state, forcing mass evacuations - including much of the city of Malibu - and panic.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D), California's governor-elect, issued emergency proclamations and requested federal assistance, both for the Southern California blazes as well as the Camp fire burning in Northern California's Butte County.

Among the celebrity homes reportedly damaged - if not destroyed - was the home of Caitlyn Jenner, who posted an Instagram video reporting that she was in a safe house, but wasn't sure what has become of her home.

The Independence Day star panned the camera to show his property nestled in the trees before swinging it round to show the looming clouds of smoke.

"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.

Five people were discovered dead in or near burned-out cars, while another 35 people have been reported missing.

The Hill Fire in Ventura County's Santa Rosa Valley has charred about 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares), according to Cal Fire.

A California National Guard official says 100 military police are headed to Northern California to help evacuate people.

'It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us, ' he added.

It easily jumped eight-lane Highway 101 and rambled over the Santa Monica Mountains to posh Malibu, where it torched homes and cars.



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