MAL­IBU IN­FERNO

Mal­ibu threat­ened

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE -

Palm trees frame a home be­ing de­stroyed by a wild­fire above the Pa­cific Coast High­way in Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia on Fri­day. Nine peo­ple burned to death in the moun­tain town of Par­adise while home­own­ers, in­clud­ing celebri­ties, fled the up­scale beach com­mu­nity of Mal­ibu as the fire burned out of con­trol across Cal­i­for­nia.

PAR­ADISE (Reuters) — At least nine peo­ple were killed in a moun­tain town, 35 oth­ers were re­ported miss­ing and res­i­dents were forced to flee the up­scale beach com­mu­nity of Mal­ibu as wild­fires burned out of con­trol across Cal­i­for­nia on Fri­day.

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 in 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, ac­cord­ing to Honea. Three fire­fight­ers had been also re­ported in­jured.

The flames de­scended on Par­adise so quickly that many peo­ple were forced to aban­don their cars and run for their lives down the only 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 only five per­cent has been 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 to the south, flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gust­ing up to 50 miles per hour raced down hill­sides and through canyons to­ward multi-mil­lion dol­lar homes.

Thou­sands of res­i­dents packed the Pa­cific Coast High­way to head south or took refuge on beaches, along with their horses and other pets.

Among those forced to flee the Woolsey Fire, which had charred some 14,164 hectares as of Fri­day af­ter­noon, were celebri­ties (See Celebrity News).

“Fire is now burn­ing out of con­trol and head­ing into pop­u­lated ar­eas of Mal­ibu,” the city said in a state­ment on­line. “All res­i­dents must evac­u­ate im­me­di­ately.”

Some 95,000 res­i­dents have been evac­u­ated in Ven­tura County alone, the county’s fire de­part­ment said on Twit­ter on Fri­day night.

Au­thor­i­ties is­sued manda­tory and vol­un­tary evac­u­a­tion or­ders within the City of Los An­ge­les for the West Hills area on Fri­day evening. It is un­clear how many homes were within the evac­u­a­tion ar­eas.

The blaze, which spewed mas­sive plumes of thick black smoke, also threat­ened parts of the nearby town of Thou­sand Oaks, where a gun­man killed 12 peo­ple on Wed­nes­day in a shoot­ing ram­page at a col­lege bar, stun­ning the bu­colic South­ern Cal­i­for­nia com­mu­nity with a rep­u­ta­tion for safety.

The Woolsey Fire broke out on Thurs­day and quickly jumped the 101 Free­way in sev­eral places. On Fri­day, it climbed over the Santa Mon­ica Moun­tains to­ward Mal­ibu.

As this de­vel­oped, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump early yes­ter­day said “gross mis­man­age­ment of forests” is to blame for two unchecked wild­fires.

REUTERS

A res­i­dent looks at ap­proach­ing flames on Fri­day as fire­fight­ers bat­tle the Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire overnight that burned dozens of homes in Thou­sand Oaks. In­set shows smoke from a wild­fire in Cal­abasas.

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