California wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate, claim lives
14 November, 2018, 02:03 | Author: Essie Rivera
Wildfires burned out of control on Friday across California, killing at least nine people in a mountain town and forcing residents to flee the upscale beach community of Malibu in the face of a monster fire storm.
"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.
The Butte County Sheriff's Department confirmed the deaths, saying that the bodies were "located in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire".
The Butte County Coroner's Office has formed an interagency team to investigate and identify additional fatalities, according to the release.
Eleanor Southwick, 78, evacuated Paradise with her husband and dog on Thursday morning as news of the fire spread. Dozens of people have been reported missing and remained unaccounted for Friday morning.
In the northern part of the state, at least five people have been found dead in scorched cars after having tried to flee the disastrous Camp Fire burning about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the state capitol. This means some phone numbers are down.
Now the fire in Northern California has grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers) and at least five people have been found dead by investigators, according to The Associated Press. Winds haven't been as strong in fires in the area in the recent past.
Early reports this morning indicate the so-called Camp Fire exploded overnight, destroying thousands of homes and supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement home in what was once the community of Paradise in northern California.
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It had charred 20,000 acres Thursday in less than 14 hours.
The challenging fire conditions are expected to continue Friday in Southern California where wind alerts and red flag warnings have been issued and wind gusts could reach 70 miles per hour and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent.
The vehicles with the deceased were found close to each other and near a roadway that leads out of Paradise, California, which has been largely consumed by fire since Thursday. Her husband was apparently in NY at the time.
"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed", Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said at a news conference, according to the Associated Press. The fire is expected to move north and critical fire conditions are expected Saturday.
VIDEO: Terrifying police radio details wildfire evacuation of seniors, pregnant woman in Butte CountySome of the patients were initially turned around during their evacuation because of gridlocked traffic and later airlifted to other hospitals, along with some staff, Kinney said.
Calabasas city officials advised residents not under mandatory evacuation orders to prepare to leave by gathering their IDs, medications, important documents, emergency supplies and a change of clothes. Some buildings caught fire and were damaged but the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokeswoman Jill Kinney said.
Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers), and investigators found five people dead in vehicles that were torched by the flames.
The governor-elect of California, Gavin Newsom, on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for Ventura and Los Angeles counties due to the Woolsey and Hill fires. Images from the fires show hills and multiple homes ablaze in Oak Park. In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fires both began on Thursday afternoon, the latter just down the road from Thousand Oaks, which was still reeling from Wednesday night's mass shooting.
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Some bodies were found in gutted cars that were overrun by the fast-moving fire, as residents scrambled to evacuate overnight. State officials have blamed climate change and said numerous burn areas have been in federally managed lands.
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