Five People Killed Trying to Flee Massive California Wildfire (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Geraldine Edwards
November 14, 2018

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

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 then pushed southward, jumped the wide USA 101 freeway before dawn Friday and pushed into the Santa Monica range.

Tens of thousands of people fled a fast-moving wildfire Thursday in Northern California, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that forced the evacuation of an entire town.

A California fire official said another blaze in northern California almost quadrupled in size overnight. Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in the area and requested a federal emergency declaration, saying that high winds and dry brush presented ongoing danger.

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.

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Over in Southern California, 57,000 structures are still threatened by the Woolsey Fire , as it is only 30 percent contained too. The town of Paradise in Butte County in northern California has been engulfed by the deadliest wildfire in the state's history.

In Southern California, strong Santa Ana winds were fanning two fires, including the Woolsey Fire, which by Friday morning had burned across USA 101 and was heading in the direction of Malibu.

The rapidly expanding Camp fire blazing through Northern California has disrupted phone and internet service, according to Butte County. "I pray everyone is safe", she wrote. Officials say the fire has claimed lives, but the number of deaths is not known at this time.

Evacuations in Butte County spread Friday to the towns of Stirling City and Inskip as well as the eastern edge of Chico, though Cal Fire officials say no structures there are damaged and the city is under no immediate threat.

The other fire burning to the west in Ventura County was also moving toward the ocean but its pace was slowed as it moved into the footprint of a 2013 wildfire that devoured vegetation on the far end of the Santa Monica range.

As of Friday afternoon, the area affected has turned into a 110-square-mile inferno, with 70,000 acres lost, thousands of structures destroyed, and a containment estimate of only five percent.

Resident Shari Bernacett told the Associated Press that she "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to get mobile home residents to leave as fire consumed the hillside. VIDEO: Horses flee Camp Fire in Butte County town of ParadiseKelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband's 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from on Thursday morning. "People were abandoning their cars and running with their babies and kids".

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The 28-year-old shooter, who also died during the attack, was a returned Afghanistan veteran said to be suffering from PTSD. Marine Corps. "The fire is literally so close to exploding into an area that is massively populated".

The two blazes are among 16 now active fires in California.

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.

"Much of the city of Malibu" is under mandatory evacuation orders, officials said in an alert.

Friday, part of it was burning into the footprint of a 2013 wildfire, which could slow its spread, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said. Evacuation orders included the entire celebrity enclave of Malibu.

"Extreme fire behaviour with unsafe rates of spread are expected", says an incident update, adding that the fire will continue to burn in the south west direction, threatening the City of Orville.

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When people are fighting for their homes and running for their lives, this is not the time to threaten to withhold federal funds. Honea said that a total of 23 people had died in the fire near the town of Paradise , about 290km northeast of San Francisco.

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