California wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate, claim lives

California wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate, claim lives

The city of Malibu along the California coast is under mandatory evacuation this morning after a wildfire known as the Woolsey Fire jumped across the 101 freeway and began burning south.

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

In Southern California there are now two fires in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties threatening structures and forcing evacuations.

However there were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries.

The fire erupted Thursday northwest of Los Angeles and has been swept southward toward the ocean by strong Santa Ana winds.

A wildfire that moved so fast that firefighters couldn't hope to stop it quadrupled in size Friday after destroying several thousand buildings and leveling much of a Northern California town of almost 30,000 people, authorities said.

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Wind gusts of up to 77 miles per hour were reported in Los Angeles County on Friday morning. Meanwhile, the Hill Fire, located just down the road from the Thousand Oaks bar where 12 people were killed earlier this week in a mass shooting, has topped 10,000 acres.

"I feel very vulnerable posting this but I feel I should", Chatfield wrote on Facebook.

Firefighters are also working to contain a northern California fire - dubbed the "Camp Fire" - as it threatens thousands of homes and forced an emergency declaration to be placed in the city of Paradise. A wildfire north of Los Angeles burned up to 15 square miles, destroying at least one home Thursday.

A second evacuation center for animals was opened this morning at Hansen Dam, 11770 Foothill Blvd.in Lake View Terrace, after the evacuation center at Pierce College in Woodland Hills reached capacity.

Cal State Channel Islands has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the campus due to the fire, and all classes and activities have been canceled this evening, according to a news release from campus officials. Her Malibu home has been completely burned down as a result of the fires that keep getting stronger.

Cal Fire's Bill Murphy says winds have calmed down in the valley but that there are "shifting, erratic winds" with speeds of up to 45mph (72 km/h) along ridge tops. Gaddie explained how his team was able to evacuate Paradise city residents in a short amount of time. It's near Hill Canyon Road and Santa Rosa Road in the Santa Rosa Valley.

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