Wild­fire is blaz­ing to­ward Mal­ibu coast

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - FROM THE COVER - By John Antczak John Antczak is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

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

Flames torched at least 150 homes, burn­ing parts of tony Cal­abasas and man­sions in Mal­ibu and prompt­ing or­ders for 250,000 peo­ple to flee as the fire marched across the Santa Mon­ica Moun­tains to­ward the sea. The cause of the blazes was not known.

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. Cou­pled with the dev­as­tat­ing Camp Fire in Butte County, fire­fight­ing re­sources are stretched thin statewide.

“The chal­lenges are, num­ber one, com­pet­ing re­sources,” said Los An­ge­les County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richard­son. “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 Woolsey Fire’s march south at the wide ex­panse of High­way 101, but it jumped the free­way as the re­gion’s no­to­ri­ous Santa Ana winds spiked in the early morn­ing hours Fri­day. The fire then climbed rapidly into the Santa Mon­ica Moun­tains and raced to­ward the coast.

“The perime­ter is now the Pa­cific Ocean,” Richard­son said.

The en­tire city of Mal­ibu — where the pop­u­la­tion of 13,000 in­cludes Hol­ly­wood stars and en­ter­tain­ment moguls — was un­der a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­der and had lost power in places. Flee­ing res­i­dents jammed Pa­cific Coast High­way in a pro­ces­sion that crept along as smoke bil­lowed over­head and man­sions on the hills went up in flames.

The Hill Fire, far­ther west in Ven­tura County, was also mov­ing to­ward the ocean, but its pace was slowed as it moved into the foot­print of a 2013 wild­fire that de­voured veg­e­ta­tion on the far end of the Santa Mon­ica range.

Ringo H.W. Chiu / As­so­ci­ated Press

Fire­fight­ers push a car from a garage as the Woolsey Fire burns a home near Mal­ibu Creek State Park in the Santa Mon­ica Moun­tains. Evac­u­a­tions were or­dered south of High­way 101.

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