Nine killed, 35 miss­ing in Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire

Manila Bulletin - - World News -

PAR­ADISE, Calif., (Reuters) – Wild­fires burned out of con­trol on Fri­day across Cal­i­for­nia, killing at least nine peo­ple in a moun­tain town and forc­ing res­i­dents to flee the up­scale beach com­mu­nity of Mal­ibu in the face of a mon­ster fire storm.

All nine vic­tims were found in and around the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia town of Par­adise, where more than 6,700 homes and busi­nesses were burned down by the Camp Fire, mak­ing it one of the most de­struc­tive in state his­tory, ac­cord­ing to Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Forestry and Fire pro­tec­tion data.

"This event was the worst-case sce­nario. It was the event we have feared for a long time," Butte County Sher­iff Kory Honea said at a Fri­day evening press con­fer­ence. "Re­gret­tably, not every­body made it out."

The re­mains of five of the vic­tims were dis­cov­ered in or near burned out cars, three out­side res­i­dences and one in­side a home, Honea said.

An­other 35 peo­ple had been re­ported miss­ing and three fire­fight­ers had been in­jured.

The flames de­scended on Par­adise so quickly that many peo­ple were forced to aban­don their cars and run for their lives down the sole road through the moun­tain town.

A school bus was among sev­eral aban­doned ve­hi­cles left black­ened by flames on one road.

The Camp Fire, which broke out on Thurs­day at the edge of the Plumas Na­tional For­est north­east of Sacra­mento, has since black­ened more than 90,000 acres and was only 5 per­cent con­tained as of night­fall on Fri­day.

A to­tal of 6,453 homes had been de­stroyed in Par­adise and else­where, Honea said, along with 260 com­mer­cial build­ings. The Tubbs Fire, which de­stroyed 5,636 struc­tures in Napa and Sonoma coun­ties in Oc­to­ber 2017, is listed by Cal Fire as the most de­struc­tive in state his­tory.

In Mal­ibu, some 500 miles (800 km) to the south, flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gust­ing up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) raced down hill­sides and through canyons to­ward mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar homes.

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