Wild­fire pushes to­ward tony Mal­ibu

The Welland Tribune - - Canada & world - JOHN ANTCZAK

LOS AN­GE­LES — A wind-driven wild­fire raged through South­ern Cal­i­for­nia com­mu­ni­ties on Fri­day, burn­ing homes and forc­ing thou­sands of peo­ple to flee as it re­lent­lessly pushed to­ward tony Mal­ibu and the Pa­cific Ocean.

Fire of­fi­cials couldn’t es­ti­mate how many build­ings were lost from the so-called Woolsey Fire burn­ing in Los An­ge­les and Ven­tura coun­ties, but said they were ex­pected to be sig­nif­i­cant.

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple were or­dered to leave their homes, but there were no in­juries to res­i­dents or fire­fight­ers, said Los An­ge­les County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richard­son. The fire was one of two that broke out Thurs­day in Ven­tura County even as the area was reel­ing from the deadly mass shoot­ing at a crowded bar in Thou­sand Oaks. An­other Cal­i­for­nia fire 765 kilo­me­tres to the north lev­elled much of the town of Par­adise in Butte County as it quadru­pled in size. At least five peo­ple died in that fire.

Fire­fight­ing re­sources were stretched thin. “The chal­lenges are, num­ber 1, com­pet­ing re­sources,” Richard­son said. “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.”

Fire­fight­ers had hoped to stop the fire’s march south at the wide ex­panse of U.S. 101, but it jumped the free­way as the re­gion’s no­to­ri­ous Santa Ana winds spiked in the early morn­ing hours. The fire rapidly climbed into the Santa Mon­ica Moun­tains and raced to­ward the coast.

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