Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

157,000 People Evacuated As Fires Burn in Northern, Southern California

A home burns as the Camp Fire rages through Paradise Calif. on Thursday Nov. 8 2018 Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire
Kenny Thornton | 10 November, 2018, 14:50

The victims died in their vehicles trying to escape a massive late-season inferno in the northern California town of Paradise, where the entire population of 26,000 was ordered to leave, officials said.

"We're working very hard to get people out".

People reported much of the community of 30,000 people has gone up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement centre.

At least one nursing home and the Feather River Hospital were evacuated and several homes were on fire, according to the Sacramento Bee, and the region is covered with thick, dark smoke.

Further north, another huge wildfire destroyed the town of Paradise, leaving nine people dead and 35 missing.

The fires started on Thursday near the Californian city of Pulga.

The Ventura County Fire Department on Friday morning estimated that the blaze had burned 6,100 acres, a smaller number than a Thursday afternoon estimate of 8,000 to 10,000 acres. While there have been injuries from the fire, there's no official tally of how many civilians and firefighters were hurt or possibly killed.

The freeway was closed in both directions near the Liberty Canyon Road exit due to "very active fire conditions", authorities said. Five people were found dead there vehicles that were overcome by flames, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said. The message I want to get out is: "If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate". "The town center is completely on the ground".

Flames were engulfing homes, utility poles were crashing down and things were exploding, she said.

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'We're getting them on other vehicles with room.

Many abandoned their cars and trucks on the side of the road. "They were abandoned because traffic was so bad, backed up for hours".

Smoke from the fire drifted in a huge plume and set off smoke alarms as far away as San Francisco, almost 150 miles away. There was alarm among some residents who anxious smoke created near the hazardous site could prove particularly risky, but authorities from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control who oversee the site say there is no evidence that smoke from the area around the SSFL is any more unsafe than other wildfire smoke.

Among the towns under evacuation orders is Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people in a rampage on Wednesday.

Four hospital employees were briefly trapped in the basement and rescued by California Highway Patrol officers, Kinney said. By 2:00 p.m. local time, it had grown to 18,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.

Hear more from Bass and see footage of the devastation above.

Mrs Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou left a frantic voicemail to family saying they needed to get out. God help us!' Bernacett said before breaking down crying. "We're anxious sick. They do have a auto, but they both are older and can be confused at times". Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom has also declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles, Ventura and Butte counties. The big wildfire here in Southern California, known as the "Woolsey Fire", quadrupled in size by Friday evening, covering more than 22 square miles, with no containment.

On Friday, the flames jumped Highway 101 and headed into coastal areas. Officials have put most of Northern California under a Red Flag Warning, which means "extreme fire behaviour" can occur within 24 hours.

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