California wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate, claim lives

10 November, 2018, 01:34 | Author: Sheila Harris

The Los Angeles County Fire Department has issued mandatory evacuation orders south of the 101 freeway to Mulholland Highway. At about 9 a.m. local time the Los Angeles County Fire Department PIO said it was "headed to the ocean".

Pimlott said six major fires are now burning in California, with three (Camp, Woolsey and Hill) designated "critical".

Friday's declaration is the second in as many days, as Newsom declared emergency for the Butte County fire Thursday. The blaze sent residents fleeing, and now threatens the city of Chico, home to 90,000 people.

Another fire was burning farther west in Ventura County, also moving toward the ocean.

Homeowners fleeing the wind-driven blaze jammed roadways as the fire crept closer to a community that is home to such movie and TV stars as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Ellen DeGeneres and Angelina Jolie.

The Camarillo-area fire, dubbed the Hill Fire, was fed by 25- to 30-mph winds that pushed flames across Highway 101 and toward Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura County Firespokesman Mike Lindbery said Thursday night.

Heavy smoke and strong winds hampered visibility for crews on the firelines and residents trying to evacuate fire zones. They used the Walgreens up in Paradise as a temporary refuge area and why we do that is to get civilians or people that are out in the elements, meaning the fire and the smoke, we try to get them into an area that is safe and away from the fire and smoke until that fire front pushes through - we did have fire personnel with them, so once they deem it safe we were able get them out of there, " he explained.

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Video of her drive out of town shows the fire emitting an orange-red glow in the distance in the nighttime sky.

The highway is expected to remain closed Friday morning, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

"We've been pushing this and pushing this", CalFire Capt. Scott McLean said in a phone interview early Friday morning.

"Imminent threat!" the department said in its warning.

About 2:30 a.m., all evacuation orders in the city of Los Angeles were changed from mandatory to voluntary, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The Woolsey Fire broke out Thursday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of 75,000 homes in the area, and continued to burn Friday near Simi Valley, about 15 miles northeast of Thousand Oaks.

The fast-moving Hill fires started near the community of Thousand Oaks, which was in the midst of grappling with the Wednesday night shooting that killed 12 at the Borderline nightclub. "Threatening more homes, more property, more lives". Although an unknown number of structures have been destroyed, there were no reports of any injuries to firefighters or residents as of mid-morning Friday. At one point, the unrelenting flames burned about 2,000 acres per hour taking down everything - big box stores, homes, and businesses - in its path.

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