Explosive Northern California Wildfire Is Consuming 32 Hectares Of Land A Minute

Leroy Wright
November 10, 2018

A Northern California wildfire that moved so fast firefighters didn't even try to stop it killed five people, authorities said Friday as the blaze quadrupled in size after leveling much of a town of almost 30,000 people.

Not a single resident of Paradise - population 27,000 - could be seen anywhere in town Friday, the day after a lot of them fled the burning Northern California community that may be lost forever.

Officials have recovered the remains of five people from vehicles that were "overcome by" the raging fire in Butte County, the sheriff's department there announced on Friday morning.

"It's very chaotic. It's a very bad fire", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol said of the evacuation.

Meanwhile firefighters operating bulldozers have been authorised to push cars off the road to clear a path and try to beat back the flames.

"They are fine", she said.

By 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Paradise resident Tanah Clunies-Ross said she could not see her auto from her front door through the cloud of smoke.

It is feared some of the dead may be elderly residents who were trapped in their homes.

"Faculty and staff who work at the Malibu and Calabasas campuses should not report to work unless they are critical support personnel", Pepperdine said.

"We heard this was coming so we set up on the sprinklers and we hosed the whole house down", said Patrick Henry, a Malibu resident. I've linked to both of them and provided descriptions below.

The fire was initially small but has been fuelled by 50mph and tinder-dry forests.

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"The town is devastated, everything is destroyed", said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott Maclean.

Resident Shari Bernacett told the Associated Press that she "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to get mobile home residents to leave as fire consumed the hillside.

The three blazes are among 16 now active fires in California. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Malibu and Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, are home to hundreds of celebrities and entertainment executives attracted to ocean views, rolling hills and large, secluded estates.

The blaze also destroyed the home of "Dr". The Ventura County Fire Department told the publication that about 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties were under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders due to the blaze.

The blaze, which spewed massive plumes of thick black smoke, also threatened parts of the nearby town of Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people earlier this week in a shooting rampage at a college bar, stunning the bucolic Southern California community with a reputation for safety.

Around half a dozen rabbits were caught on camera and seen trapped up against a wall in Thousand Oaks early on Friday morning. "It's that kind of devastation", he said.

'I don't even know what to say.

"Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming", he said.

Overnight, three rapid-moving fires spreading across California have destroyed thousands of structures and forced the evacuation of an estimated 157,000 people.

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