California Faces Its Most Destructive Wildfire In State History

April FrancisNov 11, 2018

"There was really no firefight involved", said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, adding that responders instead helped to get people out alive.

Rescue workers recovered the bodies of 14 people Saturday who were killed by the most destructive fire in California history, bringing the total death toll to 23, the local sheriff said.

In Southern California, the 4,047ha Woolsey Fire led authorities on Friday morning to expand mandatory evacuation orders to the entire city of Malibu, known for the many celebrities that call it home.

The state's most destructive fire in at least a century has burned down more than 6,700 buildings, nearly all of them homes. A recreation center where survivors of the shooting grieved was filled with people fleeing the fire.

Scores of houses from ranch homes to celebrities' mansions were burned down by a pair of wildfires which burned in famously ritzy coastal spots such as Malibu, where celebrities Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Guillermo del Toro and Martin Sheen were among those forced out of their homes amid a citywide evacuation order.

One fire that broke out near the northeast corner of Los Angeles has roared westward, jumped USA 101 in the Calabasas area and is surging up the Santa Monica Mountains.

As many as 1,000 structures are believed to have been destroyed in the inferno, though authorities are still trying to determine the full extent of damage.

Families raced to escape the blaze as it consumed much of the town.

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The blaze known as Camp Fire that began on Thursday had grown to almost 140 square miles (362 square kilometers), wiping out much of Paradise, home to some 30,000 residents.

According to the National Weather Service, the strong winds are expected to continue through Friday. Pacific Gas & Electric Company told state regulators that it experienced a problem on an electrical transmission line near the site of the blaze minutes before the fire broke out.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Flames from the unchecked, 20,000-acre (8,100-hectare) Camp Fire were being driven westward by 35-mile-per hour (56 km-per-hour) winds, fire officials said.

Meanwhile, two wildfires burning near Los Angeles have forced thousands more to evacuate, including the entire city of Malibu. Officials said earlier that 150 houses had been destroyed and the number would rise. Smoke from the blaze obscures a wide swath of the northwestern part of the state, stretching south from Paradise to just north of San Francisco. "And as hard as it may be, homes can be rebuilt, property can be reacquired".

Meanwhile, a set of other wildfires continued to burn and threaten regions about 500 miles away in Southern California.

School officials told the students that they have been assured by fire officials that the university's buildings were built to withstand fire. "I just had to evacuate my home from the fires".

"I heard the flames have hit our property at our home in Hidden Hills but now are more contained and have stopped at the moment", she said on Twitter.

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