At least 9 dead as fire incinerates Northern California town


A fierce wildfire is burning through Southern California's upscale beach resort of Malibu - home to many Hollywood stars - destroying buildings and forcing residents to flee.

Among the towns under evacuation orders is Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people in a rampage on Wednesday.

"There was really no firefight involved", said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, explaining that crews gave up attacking the flames and instead helped people evacuate. She added that 40,000 people have been evacuated and an estimated 2,000 structures have been destroyed.

The L.A. Times reported that a total of 75,000 homes in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties are now under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders, including Westlake Village and parts of Calabasas, where numerous entertainers including Alyssa Milano and Kim Kardashian have lavish homes.

The fire in Paradise was reported shortly after daybreak in a rural area.

At least five deaths have been reported and as many as 2,000 structures lost in the Paradise area.

"We have five confirmed", the official said on Friday when asked about the number of fatalities related to the wildfires. "It was the event we have feared for a long time", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a Friday evening press conference. The message I want to get out is if you can evacuate, you need to evacuate, ' Honea said.

They lived in an RV park in the California foothill town and were unlikely equipped to evacuate. 'People started getting out of their vehicles and running'. Some crashed and others left their vehicles by the roadside.

He confirmed reports that evacuees had to abandon their vehicles as they fled the scene.

A separate massive blaze raging in Northern California since Thursday morning has almost quadrupled in size overnight, according to one Californian fire official.

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Thick gray smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

'The blaze is being driven by fairly strong winds, ' Carhart said.

"F-ing Paradise is gone", she said.

Some of the hospital's 'outbuildings, ' such as out-patient clinics caught fire and were damaged but the main hospital was not, said Kinney.

At a briefing Friday, the California Office of Emergency Services announced that 52,000 people have been evacuated.

Other were found in or near homes.

Chico police officer John Barker and his partner evacuated several elderly people from an apartment complex.

Sonoma Valley firefighters inspect burned out cars to make sure they are clear of human remains following a fire through a neighborhood, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Paradise, California. "The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out".

Kelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband's 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from on Thursday morning.