Published: Sat, November 10, 2018

Northern California wildfire leaves town in ruins, thousands flee

Northern California wildfire leaves town in ruins, thousands flee

In Northern California, at least nine people died when a wildfire tore through the town of Paradise - home to about 30,000 people - and incinerated more than 6,700 structures - nearly all of the homes.

Cathy Fallon reacts as she stands near the charred remains of her home, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.

Meteorologists marvelled at the "gut-wrenching" rate of spread Thursday's fires exhibited.

The Santa Ana winds, which blow out of the Sierra Nevadas and toward the western coastline, are building into howling gales that dry the vegetation and the soil, creating potentially explosive fire conditions.

The fire was one of two that broke out Thursday in Ventura County even as the area was reeling from the deadly mass shooting at a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks.

The authorities have issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders for Los Angeles's West Hills area.

Malibu and nearby Calabasas are home to hundreds of celebrities and entertainment executives attracted by its ocean views, rolling hills and large, isolated estates. In 1993, the Old Topanga Fire burned 16,800 acres and destroyed 369 homes, killing three. "I pray everyone is safe", she wrote.

What has happened in northern California?

A Northern California wildfire that moved so fast firefighters didn't even try to stop it killed five people, authorities said Friday as the blaze quadrupled in size after leveling much of a town of almost 30,000 people.

"Most of them were immobile with walkers, or spouses that were bed-ridden, so we were trying to get additional units to come and try and help us, just taking as many as we could", he said, describing the community as having "a lot of elderly, a lot of immobile people, some low-income with no vehicles".

The fire ignited Thursday afternoon south of the city of Simi Valley, Ventura County officials said.

Allana Hall captures this photo as she evacuates her home in Paradise, California. "I'll be darned if I'm going to let those horses burn in the fire", said Fallon, who stayed on her property to protect her 14 horses, all of which survived.

Accidents gridlocked routes out of the town and residents abandoned their cars and fled on foot carrying children and pets, Reuters quoted local officials as saying. "All residents evacuate now", the city said via Twitter.

He said ash in the air was so thick that it "looked like midnight" in the middle of the day.

The hospital was later destroyed, Mike Mangas, a spokesman for operator Dignity Health, told Action News Now.

Other Malibu residents include Barbra Streisand, Robert Downey Jr., Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston and National Basketball Association star Kevin Durant. "You could feel it".

Unfortunately it's also one that has become all too familiar to Californians in recent years. Her father, a lineman for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, was called in from another district to help shut down power, she 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.

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