California wildfires: Five dead and more than 150,000 evacuate

California wildfires: Five dead and more than 150,000 evacuate

Nov 9, 2018 – At least five people have been killed and more than 150,000 evacuated as two big wildfires rage in California, officials say.

West of Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire has jumped a major highway and is now threatening coastal areas, including parts of Malibu.


At least five people have been found dead in the town of Paradise in Northern California after the explosive Camp fire burned through parts of Butte County, authorities said Friday.

Investigators discovered the victims near Edgewood Lane, trapped in vehicles that were overtaken by the fire, Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea said. Officials have been unable to identify them because of the extent of their burns.

At least three firefighters have been injured in the blaze.

More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, which began about 6:30 a.m. Thursday and had spread to 70,000 acres overnight. The fire has destroyed about 2,000 homes and buildings across the county.

Both fires are moving fast, fanned by strong winds.

California wildfires: Five dead and more than 150,000 evacuate

Where is the Woolsey Fire spreading to?

The blaze has spread rapidly overnight, fanned by strong winds, and has jumped Highway 101, a major route west of Los Angeles.

The flames are now threatening coastal areas further south, fire officials said.

So far, firefighters have been able to prevent the blaze from reaching the city of Chico, which is home to about 90,000 people and is just west of Paradise, where the fire continued to burn Friday. Officials said the blaze’s western perimeter is about 11 miles away from Canyon Oak, a golf course community that flanks Chico.

In an interview, Paradise Mayor Jody Jones said that her town has been devastated by the fire.

Much of Paradise’s business district was gone, she said. One local hospital had burned. The McDonald’s and the Ace Hardware store were engulfed in flames.

“I think we lost a high school and at least one of the elementary schools,” Jones said.

Jane Palmer, 77, said she received four automated calls the night before the fire. They were from Pacific Gas & Electric, telling her the utility was about to cut her power, which it did about 9:30 p.m.

She said she realized Paradise was on fire and her mobile home park was threatened when she saw the smoke and flames. As she drove out, she encountered a neighbor, Patsy Jacobs, 62, trying to walk out. Palmer hauled her into the car and Jacobs, because Palmer cannot see well, navigated her rescuer through the bank of smoke and burning trees.

“What pisses me off is I don’t think they told everybody soon enough,” said Kim Benn, 49, a neighbor who realized she needed to flee the fire when another resident pounded on her door.

California wildfires: Five dead and more than 150,000 evacuate

Butte County Sheriff Korey Honea said the county sent out automated warning calls to 23,862 households, using its Code Red system. However, it did not deploy a universal alert through the national emergency warning system that would have reached every cellphone within reach of activated cellphone towers.

Benn said houses on her street were already on fire when she realized she needed to leave. The fire was advancing so quickly that she immediately abandoned her car to jump into a neighbor’s truck.

“Don’t they realize this is a senior park?” Palmer said. “There’s only one way out. And had it not been for a fellow who had a meeting about evacuation in August, one of the residents, I wouldn’t have known what to do.”

About half a dozen rabbits were trapped up against a wall at Hillcrest Drive and Black Oak Street in Thousand Oaks early Friday morning.

The glow of the fire could be seen reflecting in their terrified eyes.

CBS2’s Kandiss Crone described the sight, saying, “The little bunnies there, quite a few of them, we’ve seen trying to escape the flames and get out, get to safety because their home, their habitat is on fire.”

School Closures Friday
Los Angeles Unified School District: Ivy Academia, CHIME Charter, and El Camino Real Charter High School. Palisades Charter High School.
LAUSD: North Hollywood Senior High LA Zoo/Biological Science Magnet evacuated and all students are being safely transported to the North Hollywood Senior High School campus.
California State University Channel Islands
California Lutheran University
Pepperdine University
Moorpark Community College
Malibu-Unified School District closing all Malibu schools, but Santa Monica schools will remain open. Closed schools include Malibu High and Middle schools, Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, Webster Elementary School and Point Dume Marine Science School.
Conejo Valley Unified School District (all schools)
Hueneme Elementary School District (all schools)
Las Virgenes Unified School District (all schools)
Mesa Union School District (all schools)
Oak Park Unified School District (all schools)
Oxnard Elementary School District (all schools)
Oxnard Union High School District (all schools)
Pleasant Valley School District (all schools)
Rio School District (all schools)
Simi Valley Unified School District (all schools)
Somis Union School District (all schools)

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