5 dead in California wildfires, Malibu evacuated

California wildfire destroys homes, hospital; deaths reported

California wildfire destroys homes, hospital; deaths reported

A 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 Northern California town of almost 30,000 people.

Thousand Oaks already was reeling from a gunman's slaughter of a dozen people at a local bar only days earlier when it found itself under siege from the fire, which raged on both sides of the city and shut down part of the main freeway into town.

California fire captain Scott McLean said earlier that "pretty much the entire community of Paradise is destroyed", adding that the fire had grown to nearly 110 square miles - four times its original size.

The town of Chico, population 93,000, could be next in the path of the wildfire, which was forecast to be driven westward overnight by 35-mile-per hour (56 km-per-hour) winds, said Butte County Fire Chief Darren Read.

"It is critical that residents pay close attention to evacuation orders", the Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted.

The number of evacuations remains at 52,000 people so far, but the number of total structures destroyed has risen to 6,713.

The fire broke out on Thursday north west of Los Angeles and roared south, jumping the USA 101 freeway early on Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.

The blaze has also reportedly destroyed the Paramount Ranch in western California, where HBO series Westworld is filmed.

Authorities said around 105,000 people had been evacuated in southern California.

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. At one point, the Camp Fire was consuming 80 football fields worth of land per minute, fueled by winds of up to 50 mph.

One of the worst fires in state history hit the area in September 1970, destroying 400 homes and killing 10 people. Around 150,000 people have also been evacuated from their homes. The fire is already the fourth most destructive wildfire in state history, but those numbers are nearly certain to increase once officials survey the area more completely.

The monster wildfires still burned out of control on Saturday in northern and southern California, after killing at least nine people, who were found dead in vehicles torched by the flames. Traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock and residents abandoned vehicles and ran from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said.

"This was a rapidly moving fire", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record. "My home is in jeopardy but. everything with a heartbeat is safe", she said.

Lady Gaga posted an Instagram story saying she had evacuated her Malibu home on Friday morning.

A second fire, the Hill fire, burned 6,100 acres near Thousand Oaks.

"We're just hoping that our brand new home that we were hoping to move into tomorrow is not burned to the ground", Winstead said.

Using data from various government sources, spatial analytics company Esri has created two interactive maps to help people track the progression of the fires and stay up to date on traffic and smoke forecasts.

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