South­ern Cal­i­for­nia fire turns deadly

The News Tribune - - Cover Story - BY JONATHAN J. COOPER AND AN­DREW DAL­TON As­so­ci­ated Press

MAL­IBU, CALIF.

Two peo­ple were found dead as a pair of wild­fires stretched from in­land canyons to the Pa­cific in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia on Satur­day, leav­ing peo­ple sift­ing through the re­mains of both man­sions and mod­est homes for any­thing they had left.

The two bod­ies were found se­verely burned in­side a car on a long res­i­den­tial drive­way in Mal­ibu, Los An­ge­les County sher­iff’s Chief John Bene­dict said. The home is on a wind­ing stretch of Mul­hol­land High­way with steep panoramic views, where on Satur­day the road­way was lit­tered with rocks, a few large boul­ders and fallen power lines, some of them still on fire. Most of the sur­round­ing struc­tures were lev­eled.

The deaths brings to 25 the num­ber of peo­ple killed in the state’s wild­fires in the past few days, with 23 found dead in a North­ern Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire.

Fire­fight­ers have saved thou­sands of homes de­spite work­ing in “ex­treme, tough fire con­di­tions that they said they have never seen in their life,” Los An­ge­les County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

Those con­di­tions on Fri­day night gave way to calm Satur­day, with winds re­duced to breezes. No new growth was re­ported on the larger of the two fires, which stands at 109 square miles, and fire­fight­ers now have the blaze 5 per­cent con­tained.

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