Malibu fire rages through coastal homes

A rapidly spreading late-season wildfire in northern California has burned 20,000 acres of land and prompted authorities to issue evacuation orders

Krystin Harvey, left, comforts her daughter Araya Cipollini at the remains of their home burned in the Camp Fire, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.

Nine people were found dead in and around the Northern California town of Paradise, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were burned down by the Camp Fire, making it the most destructive blaze in California history, according to state's department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

There were shout-outs as well to the firefighters struggling to contain the fires in what were described as especially hard conditions.

The fast-moving blaze in the north, which authorities have named the "Camp Fire", broke out early Thursday.

Mark Ghilarducci, of the California governor's office, said: "The magnitude of the destruction of the fire is unbelievable and heartbreaking".

Just hours after President Trump issued an emergency declaration to provide funds to help firefighters in California as they battle at least three major wildfires across the state, the president threatened to withhold the federal payments - citing the state's "gross mismanagement" of its forests. The fire was not a complete surprise, he said.

Authorities said some 200,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders, including the entire city of Malibu.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Chief John Benedict said two people have been found dead but provided no details on the deaths.

The Woolsey Fire had burned multiple structures, and about 30,000 homes still face a threat, the Ventura County Fire Department told the Los Angeles Times.

Cal Fire posted footage taken from helicopters that showed flames racing over hill ridges towards multi-million dollar mansions. It doesn't seems like it is getting worse right now, I just pray the winds are in our favor.

He has lived in Paradise for almost 80 years, moving there in 1939 when he said the town had just 3,000 people and was nicknamed Poverty Ridge.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were located in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire", said a statement, adding that they had yet to be identified. This is the second fire, along with Hill Fire, to flare up in Southern California.

Dozens of other people were reported missing. The report said the fire was reported around 2:24 p.m. Thursday, two minutes after the outage.

"There was really no firefight involved", McLean said, explaining that crews gave up on attacking the flames and instead helped people evacuate.

Fire surrounded the evacuation route, and drivers panicked.

The fires were also burning in Southern California, where at least two people have died as a result. The Woolsey Fire has torched about 35,000 acres while the Hill Fire was 4,531 acres.

Firefighters worked to protect thousands of students and staff sheltering in place Saturday at Pepperdine University as flames started reaching the campus overnight, school officials said. The flames turned what it touched to ash as it forced a citywide Malibu evacuation and sent residents scrambling to find a way out of the burn area.

With the fire jumping the freeway Friday morning, the California Highway Patrol shut down a four-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway between Las Virgenes to Kanan roads. The California fire season normally begins in late spring and lasts through summer.

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