Five dead as wild­fires race across Cal­i­for­nia

Rock­lin po­lice of­fi­cer: ‘A whole town was wiped out in 24 hours’

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - JAY CALDERON/THE DESERT SUN Doug Stan­glin and Chris Wood­yard USA TO­DAY

MAL­IBU, Calif. – Rag­ing wild­fires across Cal­i­for­nia have killed at least five peo­ple and driven 157,000 oth­ers from their homes, fire of­fi­cials said Fri­day. Near Los An­ge­les, the af­flu­ent beach­side town of Mal­ibu was or­dered evac­u­ated as a wind-driven blaze jumped the U.S. 101 Free­way and raced to­ward the sea.

In North­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Butte County, the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice said in­ves­ti­ga­tors found five peo­ple dead in ve­hi­cles that were torched by the flames of a fe­ro­cious wild­fire that roared through the town of Par­adise.

The vic­tims were found in the same area of the dev­as­tated re­tire­ment com­mu­nity that also lost about 2,000 struc­tures.

“A whole town was wiped out in 24 hours,” said Rock­lin po­lice Of­fi­cer Jon Gee. “It’s crazy.”

Mark Ghi­lar­ducci, di­rec­tor of the Cal­i­for­nia Gover­nor’s Of­fice of Emer­gency Ser­vices, said 157,000 peo­ple had been forced from their homes in three ma­jor fires in the Golden State, in­clud­ing the Camp Fire that de­stroyed Par­adise.

The blaze, which erupted 80 miles north of Sacra­mento, quadru­pled overnight to nearly 110 square miles, ac­cord­ing to fire of­fi­cials.

Maj. Gen. David Bald­win of the Cal­i­for­nia Na­tional Guard said 100 mil­i­tary po­lice were en route to North­ern Cal­i­for­nia to help evac­u­ate peo­ple from the Par­adise area.

In South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, 75,000 homes were or­dered evac­u­ated in Ven­tura and Los An­ge­les coun­ties.

Ven­tura County Fire Depart­ment Capt. Scott Det­torre warned that as the fire crossed the fa­mous High­way 101, a ma­jor trans­porta­tion artery, “it will make its his­toric and typ­i­cal run all the way down Pa­cific Coast High­way, threat­en­ing more homes, more prop­erty, more lives,” KTLA-TV re­ports.

Fire of­fi­cials or­dered the evac­u­a­tion of all 13,000 res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity, which stretches 21 miles along the coast­line.

“Fire is burn­ing out of con­trol, head­ing into pop­u­lated areas of Mal­ibu,” the city of Mal­ibu tweeted. “All res­i­dents evac­u­ate now.”

The Woolsey Fire had ex­ploded to more than 5 square miles Fri­day morn­ing and was con­tin­u­ing to grow.

Home­own­ers flee­ing the wind­driven blaze around Mal­ibu jammed road­ways as the fire crept closer to the wealthy, surf­side com­mu­nity, which is home to nu­mer­ous movie and TV stars. The celebrity site The Blast said homes be­long­ing to Mel Gib­son, Cait­lyn Jen­ner, Lady Gaga, Courteney Cox, Ju­lia Roberts and Patrick Dempsey were in the evac­u­a­tion zone.

As cars snarled Pa­cific Coast High­way, some res­i­dents lined up five deep at a gas sta­tion for a last chance to get fuel.

All were be­ing di­rected south to­ward the safety of Santa Mon­ica.

A fire­fighter works at a home that caught on fire Fri­day in Oak Park, Calif. Oak Park is in Ven­tura County, which has been rav­aged by the Woolsey Fire.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.