Nine dead, 35 missing in U.S. wildfire

Leroy Wright
November 14, 2018

At least five people have been confirmed dead in a vehicle that was overcome by fire in Paradise, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

The Butte County Coroner's Office has formed an interagency team to investigate and identify additional fatalities, according to the release.

A Chico County police officer called in to "Shepard Smith Reporting" Friday to describe the devastation a deadly, fast-moving wildfire has caused in the town of Paradise, California.

In Northern California's Butte County, a huge brush fire devasted the town of Paradise, where 1,000 structures were lost. This means some phone numbers are down.

The fire has already triggered overnight evacuations of an estimated 75,000 homes in western Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County.

"We have over 300 Los Angeles County firefighters here, and as mentioned collectively, that's going to grow, as we continue to battle this fire, as it is headed to the Pacific Ocean", Richardson said. One evacuation center was even forced to close down as the flames spread.

About two-thirds of the city of Malibu was ordered evacuated early Friday as a ferocious wildfire roared toward the beachside community that is home to about 13,000 residents, some of them Hollywood celebrities. The Hill fire pushed through canyons to the edge of Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands, both of which were evacuated. By Friday morning the Hill Fire had scorched over 6,100 acres and was threatening a reported 400 structures.

California Governor-elect Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to provide assistance to the fire-hit areas.

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The fire burning east of Chico has destroyed much of the community of Paradise, a city with a population of almost 27,000 people. "I pray everyone is safe", she wrote.

Scott Maclean, the state's forestry and fire protection spokesman, said a number of civilians and firefighters had been injured in the fire north of Sacramento but it would be days before the authorities knew whether anyone had died.

The Ventura County Fire Department said the "Woolsey Fire" had burned around 35,000 acres, was not contained, and that evacuation orders were issued for some 88,000 homes in the county and neighboring Los Angeles County.

"Much of the city of Malibu" is under mandatory evacuation orders, officials said in an alert. CBS in Sacramento reported at 7:02 a.m. that a spokesperson for CAL FIRE said the fire had grown to about 70,000 acres.

"It's a mandatory evacuation, what that means is, you don't have to leave, we want you to leave", Ventura County Fire spokesman Rich Macklan told The Independent on November 9.

Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers), and investigators found five people dead in vehicles that were torched by the flames. "These are the worst wildland-urban interface fire conditions I've ever seen", says Palley. Images from the fires show hills and multiple homes ablaze in Oak Park.

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.

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