California wildfires leave several dead, force thousands to flee

Woolsey Fire in Ventura County nearly doubles overnight to 70,000 acres, Hwy. 101 still closed | The Modesto Bee

One of the California wildfires grew so fast it burned the equivalent of a football field every second

As of Saturday morning, the Camp Fire was reported to be 20 percent contained after having burned an estimated 100,000 acres of land north of Sacramento in Butte County, making it the worst wildfire in California history.

There have been no confirmed reports of fatalities.

The Woolsey fire has also caused 200,000 people to evacuate the city of Malibu. It killed eight people in July and August and burned about 1,100 homes.

The massive blaze spread north on Friday, prompting officials to order the evacuation of Stirling City and Inskip, two communities north of Paradise along the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Also affected is the city of Thousand Oaks, which is still recovering from the recent mass shooting.

So is dry vegetation, as much of California has seen less than 5% of its normal rainfall over the last month. They're expecting another big wind event there.

The blaze grew to more than 18,000 acres (72.4 square kilometers) in less than eight hours.

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to provide assistance to the hardest-hit areas in the fire-prone state.

Tens of thousands of people fled the Camp Fire, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and evacuated on foot.

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"My hometown of Paradise is on fire", she wrote. "I remember with the unforgetting memory of a child, the inferno on the opposite side of the river. probably 50 miles from our home and quite close to where (Thursday's) fire began", Hayes noted in the recollection fueled by a fire that has claimed at least nine lives and thousands of structures.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Saturday 14 additional bodies were found, bringing the death toll to 23.

He has lived in Paradise for almost 80 years, moving there in 1939 when he said the town had just 3,000 people and was nicknamed Poverty Ridge.

The fire hopscotched around the Oak Park neighborhood of 70-year-old Bill Bengston, leaving most houses untouched. Helicopters collect water from lakes and ponds to douse wildfires and have plenty at hand, they said.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters at a news conference Friday evening that officials had found nine people who had been killed by the fire: Four were found dead in their cars in Paradise, down from the five officials had spoken about earlier; three outside of houses; and two others, one inside a home, and another near a vehicle.

Malibu mansions burned to the ground in Southern California, while another fast-growing brush fire left employees at the Los Angeles Zoo racing to protect animals from smoke. Evacuation centers also were established at Canoga Park Senior High School at 6850 Topanga Canyon Canoga Park, at Rancho Santa Susana Recreation Center at 5005-C Los Angeles Simi Valley and at Taft High School at 5461 Winnetka Woodland Hills, although it was reported to be at capacity.

Containment: Firefighters are struggling to put down the flames.

"The president's message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines".

In his first comments about the massive wildfires, Trump tweeted that "there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly fires in California".

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