Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Celebs evacuate Southern California homes as wildfires rage on: 'Pray for Calabasas'

Celebs evacuate Southern California homes as wildfires rage on: 'Pray for Calabasas'

The Butte County Coroner's Office has formed an interagency team to investigate and identify additional fatalities, according to the release. One evacuee, Paradise resident Whitney Vaughan, went to work as usual on Thursday morning only to learn that the town was under immediate evacuation orders.

With fires burning in both Northern and Southern California, the director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services put the number of people forced from their homes at 157,000. This means some phone numbers are down.

Portions of the community have been evacuated, according to Los Angeles County Fire officials.

The largest blaze, known as Camp Fire, has hit northern California and is the only one that has been deadly so far, devastating 28,000 hectares (69,000 acres) and engulfing much of Paradise, a town of 26,000 residents located some 280 km (174 mi) north of San Francisco.

As the wildfire raged nearby, Whitney Vaughan and her husband had just enough time to grab a laundry basket of dirty clothes and some pictures before fleeing their home in Paradise, California. "All residents, from Ventura County Line to the area of the Getty Villa and the Ventura (101) Freeway to the ocean, must evacuate as soon as possible".

Early Friday, the city of Malibu was ordered to evacuate as a wildfire approached the coastal area.

Currently, a fast moving fire that sparked around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday has already grown to 70,000 acres in just over 24 hours.

Intense winds and low humidity are feeding the flames.

Meanwhile, a set of other wildfires continued to burn and threaten regions about 500 miles away in Southern California.

In Southern California, strong Santa Ana winds were fanning two fires, including the Woolsey Fire, which by Friday morning had burned across USA 101 and was heading in the direction of Malibu.

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The hospital was totally destroyed, Mike Mangas, a spokesman for operator Dignity Health, told Action News Now.

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

The Woolsey Fire, the blaze now causing the most concern for firefighters, was up to 7,500 acres around 1:30 a.m. local time, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for Malibu. The speed of the fire caught everyone off guard as it was driven forward by the high winds and dry landscape. consuming more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers) by nightfall with firefighters unable to contain any of the blaze, McLean said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted that the fire raging through the Santa Monica Mountains was headed to the ocean.

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.

Wildfires also broke out in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, causing evacuations and burning about 12,000 acres. Images from the fires show hills and multiple homes ablaze in Oak Park.

Thousand Oaks was also the scene of a mass shooting late Wednesday at a nightclub where 11 civilians and a sheriff's sergeant were killed.

Wind gusts of up to 77 miles per hour were reported in Los Angeles County on Friday morning.

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