Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Thousands flee raging wildfires in California

Long Beach Fire Department strike team sent to battle Hill Fire in Ventura • Long Beach Post Down the road from the Thousand Oaks shooting, people are being evacuated because of a wildfire
Michele Schwartz | 10 November, 2018, 02:31

"The smoke was getting so thick, it was getting in the house", Mary said.

Residents in affluent Malibu are the latest to be at risk from scalding flames caused by the Woolsey Fire, spreading southwards from Los Angeles.

Malibu public schools are also closed.

At least one nursing home and the Feather River Hospital were evacuated and several homes were on fire, according to the Sacramento Bee, and the region is covered with thick, dark smoke.

Malibu and the surrounding areas have been hit by many devastating wildfires over the years. In Southern California there are now two fires in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties threatening structures and forcing evacuations. While there have been injuries from the fire, there's no official tally of how many civilians and firefighters were hurt or possibly killed.

It has so far consumed between 8,000 to 10,000 acres and forced evacuations for Cal State Channel Islands and the Dos Vientos and Camarillo Springs areas.

"We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road", said police officer Mark Bass, who lives in Paradise and works in neighboring Chico.

Cal Fire's Bill Murphy says winds have calmed down in the valley but that there are "shifting, erratic winds" with speeds of up to 45mph (72 km/h) along ridge tops.

Ellerton, in an email to CNN, said it was odd to go from covering events related to Wednesday's shooting "to looking up in the afternoon and seeing plumes of smoke". Last night it covered just 2,000 acres.

By 1 a.m. (4 a.m. ET), more firefighters arrived as the flames closed in on Janic's street.

'We made it out, the dogs made it out, a few of our belongings made it out and we're safe and that's all that matters'.

Video of her drive out of town shows the fire emitting an orange-red glow in the distance in the nighttime sky.

Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County, where the fire was burning about 80 acres per minute at one point, according to UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.

Residents posted on social media to share their views of the flames almost consuming the hillside in the Newbury Park area of western Thousand Oaks.

Pet owners walked their dogs on Zuma Beach, the winds whipping up the sand around them and fire engine sirens blaring nearby. Pimlott said 40 miles per hour wind started at the outset of the Camp Fire early Thursday.

A lot of the resources assigned to the Hill Fire were transferred to the Woolsey Fire, which became the priority for firefighting efforts with heavy air support and hundreds of personnel working Friday.

Evacuees described harrowing escapes from flames that picked up unexpectedly Thursday afternoon.

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