Raging Wildfire Prompts Complete Evacuation of Malibu City in California

Frederick Owens
November 10, 2018

A fierce wildfire in Northern California incinerated most of a town of about 30,000 people with flames that moved so fast there was nothing firefighters could do, authorities said Friday.

Thousand Oaks already was reeling from a gunman's slaughter of a dozen people at a local bar only days earlier when it found itself under siege from the fire, which raged on both sides of the city and shut down part of the main freeway into town.

Butte County Sheriff Korey Honea said one of the additional deaths was said to be near those vehicles, another was inside a residence and at least three were said to be outside of residences.

The first of the fires broke out on Thursday, northwest of Los Angeles, and roared south, with an estimated 75,000 homes evacuated in western Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County. That fire grew more than 20-fold in about six hours just before it overtook the town of Paradise, home to about 27,000 people.

"Fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu", the city said in a statement online.

About 2,000 structures were destroyed in the area, officials said.

West of Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire jumped a major highway and headed into coastal areas, including the town of Malibu where some homes are ablaze. Another fire was burning farther west in Ventura County, also moving toward the ocean.

Calabasas city officials advised residents not yet under mandatory evacuation orders to prepare to leave by gathering their IDs, medications, important documents, emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

"The fire was so close I could feel it in my auto through rolled up windows", said Rita Miller, who fled Paradise with her disabled mother.

Malibu and nearby Calabasas are home to many celebrities and some have been posting on social media.

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He said another 35 people were missing and three firefighters had been injured. But winds are blamed for pushing the fire through scenic canyon communities and ridgetop homes.

"There's nothing left standing", said Scott Maclean, the state's forestry and fire protection spokesman.

"We have five confirmed", the official said on Friday when asked about the number of fatalities related to the wildfires.

The Independence Day star panned the camera to show his property nestled in the trees before swinging it round to show the looming clouds of smoke.

Using data from various government sources, spatial analytics company Esri has created two interactive maps to help people track the progression of the fires and stay up to date on traffic and smoke forecasts.

When Paradise was evacuated, the order set off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got struck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot.

"It is what we feared for a long time", Honea said, noting there was no time to knock on residents' doors one-by-one.

At the Vallecito mobile home park for seniors in Newbury Park, the fire came so quickly that residents had no time to gather medications and documents.

Concerned friends and family posted anxious messages on Twitter and other sites, saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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