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21st of November 2018

International



Five dead in wildfires raging across California

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At least five people have died in wildfires that are raging in California. 

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said the victims were found in the same area in Paradise, a town that has been destroyed by the flames.

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.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gene Blevins/ZUMA Wire/REX (9972377c) Overnight firefighters battle the Santa Rosa fire Thursday night into Friday morning California Wildfires, Oak Park, USA - 08 Nov 2018 Wildfires across California have forced 157,000 people to flee their homes (Picture: ZUMA Wire/REX) SIPA USA via PA Images November 9, 2018; Oak Park, CA; Tina Weeks packs her car to evacuate after her neighbors house became fully engulfed by the Woolsey Fire in Oak Park, Ca., in the early morning of November 9, 2018. Mandatory Credit: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun/Sipa USA Tina Weeks packs her car to evacuate after her neighbour’s house became fully engulfed by the Woolsey Fire this morning (Picture: ZUMA Wire/REX) SIPA USA via PA Images November 9, 2018; Oak Park, CA; A firefighter tries to keep the flames from a house on fire from spreading to nearby homes in Oak Park, November 9, 2018.Mandatory Credit: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun/Sipa USA A firefighter tries to keep the flames spreading to nearby homes (Picture: PA)

The entire city of Malibu was ordered to evacuate as the Woolsey Fire, as it has been named, continues to get closer to residential buildings.

Malibu is less than 20 miles away from Thousand Oaks, a town that is still reeling from Wednesday’s mass shooting where former US Marine combat veteran Ian Long opened fire in a bar packed with college students, killing 12 people.

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The Los Angeles County Fire Department issue an ‘imminent threat’ warning and tweeted that the fire raging through the Santa Monica Mountains was headed to the ocean.

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Malibu has about 13,000 residents and lies along 21 miles of coast at the southern foot of the mountain range.

The fire erupted on Thursday near the northwest corner of the city of Los Angeles as the region’s notorious Santa Ana winds blew harder, triggering an overnight evacuation of 75,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

Statues are seen on a smouldering property as the Camp fire tears through Paradise, California on November 8, 2018. - A rapidly spreading, late-season wildfire in northern California has burned 20,000 acres of land and prompted authorities to issue evacuation orders for thousands of people. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP)JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images The entire city of Malibu has been ordered to evacuate (Picture: AFP/Getty) SIPA USA via PA Images Firefighters cut open the garage of a house on fire during the Woolsey Fire in Thousand Oaks, California on Thursday, November 8, 2018. (Photo by: Christian Monterrosa/ Sipa USA) Malibu is less than 20 miles away from Thousand Oaks, a town that is still reeling from Wednesday’s mass shooting (Picture: PA)

The fire then pushed south, jumped the 101 freeway on Friday morning and pushed into the Santa Monica range.

Another fire was burning further west in Ventura County, also moving toward the ocean, and another one in northern California

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Several evacuation centres were issuing protective masks for citizens, Ventura County Emergency Services said, and many schools remain closed.

The Woolsey fire also affected parts of Los Angeles County, where mandatory evacuation orders were in effect as of Friday morning

Also burning in Ventura County was the Hill Fire, which grew to 10,000 acres by Thursday night, officials said.

Malibu City Limit Around 13,000 people live in the coastal city (Picture: Getty) Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gene Blevins/ZUMA Wire/REX (9972377j) Overnight firefighters battle the Santa Rosa fire Thursday night into Friday morning California Wildfires, Oak Park, USA - 08 Nov 2018 The blaze advanced rapidly to the outskirts of the city of Chico early on Friday, forcing thousands to flee (Picture: ZUMA Wire/REX) SIPA USA via PA Images November 9, 2018; Oak Park, CA; A neighbor walks by a house on fire on Lafitte Dr. in Oak Park, November 9, 2018.Mandatory Credit: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun/Sipa USA The blaze earlier ripped through Paradise, about 20 miles east of Chico (Picture: PA)

In northern California, the Camp Fire had more than tripled in size to 70,000 acres (2838 hectares) and was 5% contained, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) officials said.

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The blaze advanced rapidly to the outskirts of the city of Chico early on Friday, forcing thousands to flee after it left the nearby town of Paradise in ruins, Cal Fire said.

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Evacuation notices were set for homes on the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people about 90 miles north of Sacramento.

The Chico Fire Department said: ‘Firefighters continue to actively engage the fire in order to protect life and property.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gene Blevins/ZUMA Wire/REX (9972377d) Overnight firefighters battle the Santa Rosa fire Thursday night into Friday morning California Wildfires, Oak Park, USA - 08 Nov 2018 The Chico Fire Department said: ‘Firefighters continue to actively engage the fire in order to protect life and property’  (Picture: ZUMA Wire/REX) Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gene Blevins/ZUMA Wire/REX (9972377n) Overnight firefighters battle the Santa Rosa fire Thursday night into Friday morning California Wildfires, Oak Park, USA - 08 Nov 2018 It could be days until they learn of any fatalities (Picture: ZUMA Wire/REX)

‘The town is devastated, everything is destroyed,’ Cal Fire spokesman Scott Maclean said.

Maclean said an unspecified number of civilians and firefighters were injured and it could be days before authorities learn of any fatalities.

In Paradise, located on a ridge and with limited escape routes, traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock.

That prompted residents to abandon their vehicles and run from the flames, carrying children and pets, officials said.

‘It’s very chaotic,’ said Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol.

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