5 dead in California wildfires, Malibu evacuated


In all, the Woolsey Fire led authorities to issue evacuation orders for 75,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. "All residents evacuate now", the city said via Twitter.

One Paradise resident who fled the encroaching blaze told the Bee: "It was so hot".

The fire rapidly climbed into the Santa Monica Mountains and raced toward the coast.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott said Friday firefighters are focused on saving lives and are still rescuing people from fires.

Smoke from the fire drifted in a huge plume and set off smoke alarms as far away as San Francisco, almost 150 miles away.

The blaze has devastated the town of 27,000 people and is moving north into Sierra Nevada foothill communities.

On Thursday, as flames engulfed Paradise, frantic residents racing to safety plunged into the thick smoke that darkened the daytime sky and made driving hard. "We're doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas".

Drivers heading south to Los Angeles will encounter closures on both sides of Highway 101 from Reyes Adobe Road in Agoura Hills to Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas, according to Caltrans District 7.

Sherri Pritchard said she only had time to grab a few pictures before fleeing with her family and dogs, even leaving clothes behind.

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"F-ing Paradise is gone", she said. "It was chaos. I couldn't believe what people were doing".

In the midst of the chaos, officials said they could not provide figures on the number of wounded, but County Cal Fire Chief Darren Read said that at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured. "Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", he said. Fire officials said it could take days to figure out how many people died. That's equal to about 60 football fields per minute.

Elsewhere, the Hill Fire in Ventura County's Santa Rosa Valley had charred about 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) as of Friday evening, according to Cal Fire. The wildfire then finally ran into its only match so far: the Pacific Ocean, the Washington Post reported.

United States media reports that schools have also been closed and evacuated due to the fire, and animals have been moved out of the LA Zoo in Griffith Park.

"The first part of this fuel bed had not seen fire for many years".

A combination of profoundly dry vegetation and heavy winds are contributing to the fire's explosive pattern. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

The city tweeted that the evacuation affects areas between the Ventura county line and Malibu Canyon. She had been filming aerial shots in her private plane earlier for her Instagram Stories and realized her own home was threatened.

After an 8-2 regular season, Paradise was rewarded with the No. 3 seed in California's Northern Section Division II playoffs and a home game that would have been played Friday night against Red Bluff. Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou Herrera, left a frantic voicemail at around 9:30 a.m. saying they needed to get out.

Friday morning, fire officials reported that the fire had jumped Highway 101 near the city of Calabasas.