Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Dead In California Wildfire, Residents Take Refuge On Beaches In Malibu

Evacuations ordered in Northern California as fast-moving wildfire spreads A massive plume of smoke from the Camp Fire wafts over the Sacramento Valley as seen from Chico
Steven Clarke | 10 November, 2018, 09:47

It began early Thursday morning, and and grew so rapidly that it reached some 18,000 acres (7,200 hectares) as of Thursday afternoon. A member of the town, Brynn Parrott Chatfield, shared a video of the fire while driving in a vehicle on Facebook.

In Butte County, about 80 miles north of Sacramento, has seen strong winds hamper efforts by aircraft to drop retardant on the fast-moving fire that largely destroyed Paradise and moved into the eastern side of Chico this morning, a city with a population of around 90,000.

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

By Thursday night, a shelter at the Neighborhood Church shelter in Chico was full and authorities were directing people to the Oroville Nazarene Church and the Butte County Fairgrounds.

Traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock and residents abandoned vehicles and ran from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said.

Since the fire ignited, at least nine people have been confirmed dead, almost 6,500 homes and 90,000 acres have burned and about 30,000 residents have evacuated, media reports said.

More than 40,000 people were ordered to evacuate on November 8 when a fire tore through Paradise, California, according to reports. On Instagram she urged people to "pray for Calabasas".

"Just landed back home and had 1 hour to pack up & evacuate our home. I pray everyone is safe", she wrote.

What has happened in northern California?

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In the first official report of fatalities, the Butte County Sheriff tweeted on Friday that investigators had found five dead bodies.

State fire official Koby Johns said 2,000 buildings have been destroyed and another 2,000 buildings and 15,000 homes were "at imminent danger of burning".

In Southern California, two fires burned near the town of Thousand Oaks with towering smoke clouds visible at the site of a mass shooting where a gunman killed more than a dozen people just hours earlier.

The Chico Fire Department said: 'Firefighters continue to actively engage the fire in order to protect life and property'.

"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. Fire surrounded the evacuation route, and drivers panicked.

A spokesman for the hospital operator, Dignity Health, reportedly told Action News Now that Feather River was later destroyed.

"The whole lower side of Paradise is totally engulfed in flames right now", Kevin Winstead, a resident of nearby Magalia, told KIEM TV. "You could feel it".

The Camp Fire ignited Thursday and evolved into the most fierce of the wind-driven fires in what has been one of the worst years for wildfires in California.

On social media, many have been sharing images of highways and roads flanked by fire or covered in heavy smoke and asking for help to evacuate friends and family.

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