Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Fire-stricken California school concedes playoff football game

Hospital workers and first responders evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital as the Camp Fire moves through the area on Nov. 8 2018 in Paradise California Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire
Faye Gross | 10 November, 2018, 10:16

A wildfire that moved so fast that firefighters couldn't hope to stop it quadrupled in size Friday after destroying several thousand buildings and leveling much of a Northern California town of almost 30,000 people, authorities said.

The Butte County Sheriff's office confirmed that five people were killed trying to escape the blaze in their vehicles.

In the first official report of fatalities, the Butte County Sheriff tweeted on Friday that investigators had found five dead bodies.

Strong blustery winds combined with dry conditions have helped the blaze spread, after weeks without rain and low humidity at the height of the wildfire season in north California.

Flames from the unchecked, 20,000-acre (8,100-hectare) Camp Fire were being driven westward by 35-mile-per hour (56 km-per-hour) winds, fire officials said.

Voluntary evacuations of 75,000 homes had already been called for because of the Woolsey fire that affected parts of Thousand Oaks, the site of a shooting massacre this week.

Butte County Sherriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record that "it's bad".

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.

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On Thursday, acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California and requested a presidential disaster declaration, saying that unsafe weather conditions were expected to last several days. Cal Lutheran says its Thousand Oaks campus is not under evacuation orders but residential students have been put on standby.

Cars and trucks, some with trailers attached, were left on the roadside as evacuees ran for their lives, said Bass, the police officer. In Southern California, fire burning through wind-whipped palm trees on Thursday resembled a hurricane.

Evacuation zones were posted on Cal Fire's website.

Evacuation orders are in place for Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley while hundreds of firefighters battle the blaze.

Richardson estimates another 60,000 people will likely have to evacuate because the fire jumped USA 101 early Friday and is pushing toward the coast.

The resort is one of the most in-demand locations in California for Hollywood stars seeking privacy and luxury, and has been home to Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt and a host of other celebrities. "Just landed back home and had one hour to pack up and evacuate our home". On Instagram she urged people to "pray for Calabasas". Then she reconsidered, thinking: "I'm really scared".

Thousands are also without power in the region, which is just north of Sacramento. "My home is in jeopardy but. everything with a heartbeat is safe", she said.

More than 157,000 people across the state have been forced to flee their homes as the fires close in on residential areas, putting more lives in danger.

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