5 killed as 3 California wildfires destroy thousands of structures, force evacuations

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

Two fast-moving wildfires that exploded in the Southern California hills have claimed nine lives and forced thousands to flee their homes, including the entire city of Malibu, a sprawling naval base and many Hollywood celebrity homes.

The 8100 hectare Camp Fire, which started on Thursday near Camp Creek, has destroyed the town of Paradise, where at least five people were killed.

"This event was the worst-case scenario", he said. "Regrettably, not everybody made it out".

By 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Paradise resident Tanah Clunies-Ross said she could not see her vehicle from her front door through the cloud of smoke.

Maclean said an as yet unspecified number of civilians and firefighters had been injured, and that it could be days before authorities would know whether anyone had died.

The sheriff's office said the victims were found near the town of Paradise, which was destroyed by a blaze that forced thousands of residents to flee as it rapidly approached the outskirts of the city of Chico early Friday.

On Friday morning, gruesomely burned cars littered the side of the road.

"Fortunately for us, it is burning into the old footprint of the Springs Fire of 2013, and the fire activity there has diminished", he told reporters Friday, adding that this has allowed crews to "focus a little bit more heavily" on the Woolsey Fire instead.

A firefighter keeps watch as the wildfire burns a home near Malibu Lake in Malibu, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

The full extent of the destruction in the county was still unknown, but authorities said they believe as many as 2,000 buildings have been destroyed - most of those in Paradise.

The fire remains at 5 percent contained.

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In Malibu, some 500 miles (800 km) to the south, flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) raced down hillsides and through canyons toward multi-million dollar homes.

The singer Lady Gaga said she had evacuated her home in Malibu, posting a video on Instagram that showed dark smoke billowing overhead.

Morgan Mason said her father told her that he could hear propane tanks blowing up all over Paradise this morning.

Also burning in Ventura County was the Hill Fire, which had torched 10 000 acres (4047 hectares) by Thursday night, fire officials said.

Bass evacuated his family from Paradise and returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man trying to carry his bedridden wife to safety.

A row of burned vehicles are seen on Skyway during the Camp Fire in Paradise.

The evacuation order was for all homes west of Valley Circle Boulevard with from Roscoe Boulevard at the north end and south to Vanowen Street. On Friday, it climbed over the Santa Monica Mountains toward Malibu.

Travel was limited on U.S. Highway 101 in the county, state highway patrol troopers said.

State officials are investigating electrical equipment as one of several possible causes of the fire in the north, said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, in an interview.

Earlier in the day, the Hill Fire near Thousand Oaks in Ventura Country needed just 12 minutes to jump Highway 101, one of the area's primary roadways.

Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richardson says 45,000 people in Ventura County and 43,000 more in Los Angeles County were ordered to evacuate overnight.

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