At least 5 dead in California wildfires

Aaron Brown
November 14, 2018

When the order came to evacuate, it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents chose to leave at once, they said.

About 12:30 a.m., all residents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties north of the Ventura 101 Freeway, south of Bell Canyon Road, west of Valley Circle Boulevard and east of Erbes Road, as well as north of Kanan Road, west of Lindero Canyon to Erbes Road extending north to Sunset Hills Boulevard were told to evacuate, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The fire broke out Thursday northwest of Los Angeles and roared southward, jumping the US 101 freeway early Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.

Cal Fire told CNN multiple injuries have been reported by both residents and firefighters. Winds haven't been as strong in fires in the area in the recent past.

Meanwhile, two wildfires burning near Los Angeles have forced thousands more to evacuate, including the entire city of Malibu.

"Fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu", the city said in a statement online. "We all know this is the second fire that occurred in Ventura County, and it's on the heels of what's happened up in Northern California where they've had devastating loss in Butte County".

"We thought the fire was going to kill us", she told CNN.

Investigators with the Butte County Sheriff's Office located the five fatalities in the area of Edgewood Lane in Paradise town of about 30,000 people in Butte County, about 130 km north of California State's capital Sacramento.

Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Eric Buschow said at least two people have been arrested on suspicion of looting in his county.

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In Southern California there are now two fires in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties threatening structures and forcing evacuations.

Los Angeles County fire strike teams and water dropping aircraft were working to contain the flames on or around the Pepperdine campus.

"There was really no firefight involved", said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Rescuers used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out of the way in order to reach a hospital and evacuate patients as the fire engulfed the building, Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said. 9, 437 structures remain threatened though none have been lost or damaged by the fire. Some were forced to abandon their cars and sprint to safety as the intense flames closed in.

The National Weather Service has issued red-flag warnings for fire dangers across much of California, where low humidity and high winds create optimally dry conditions for a fire to explode into a conflagration, such as happened near Paradise on Thursday.

A California fire official says six major fires are burning around the state, and characterized three of them as "critical".

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. He called me as he was driving south on the Pacific Coast Highway, headed from Oxnard to Malibu.

The Paradise fire is known as the Camp fire in California, and has now raged across 31 miles (20,000 acres) of the state.

The Malibu area is also home to dozens of filming locations.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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