California wildfires: At least 5 dead, 15,000 homes threatened

New mandatory evacuations issued as 4,000-acre Woolsey fire tears into Oak Park burning homes

A firefighter battles embers from a burning home off Wembly Avenue and Lindero Canyon Road on Thursday night

Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers).

The full extent of the destruction is still unknown, but authorities believe up to 1,000 buildings have been destroyed - most of those in Paradise, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesman said.

Fire surrounded the evacuation route, and drivers panicked.

"We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road", police officer Mark Bass, who lives in Paradise, told NBC.

Emergency personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office said Friday the victims were found in the same area in the town of Paradise, near a main thoroughfare heading out of town that was consumed by flames.

Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for tens of thousands of people in the scenic area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, including some residents of Chico, population 93,000, near Paradise.

The fire has also affected the affluent city of Calabasas, where Kim Kardashian-West lives, who was evacuated on Thursday along with her three children.

"It's a mandatory evacuation, what that means is, you don't have to leave, we want you to leave", Ventura County Fire spokesman Rich Macklan told The Independent on November 9.

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The winds calmed down in the valley, but they were still shifting and erratic, with speeds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 kph) along ridge tops, he said. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu. "While this won't be as critical for fires as what we're seeing now, or expect to see Sun/Mon, it does look like it will be another very dry week which won't help the situation any". The area burned is more than 2.3 times the size of San Francisco (47 square miles). "As it burned, it was able to get into an area where winds started to push it, and pushed it towards the Paradise area through a community called Concow, and jumped a canyon". "It's that kind of devastation", McLean said.

Wildfires also erupted in Southern California.

The Woolsey Fire is one of two blazes burning just miles from the site of Wednesday night's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.

The fire crossed USA 101 a few miles east of Thousand Oaks - the site of Wednesday night's bar shooting - and was headed south to the Pacific coast, in the direction of Malibu Creek State Park and Malibu city, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

The entire city of Malibu - home to Hollywood stars and entertainment moguls - was under a mandatory evacuation order and had lost power in places.

"Imminent threat!" the department said in its warning.

About 12:30 a.m., all residents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties north of the Ventura 101 Freeway, south of Bell Canyon Road, west of Valley Circle Boulevard and east of Erbes Road, as well as north of Kanan Road, west of Lindero Canyon to Erbes Road extending north to Sunset Hills Boulevard were told to evacuate, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

A separate wildfire north west of Los Angeles has roared south, jumping the U.S. 101 freeway early on Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Hill Fire is another battle firefighters in Ventura County are contending with. No injuries have been reported.

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