Resident fleeing Camp Fire: ‘The whole town is on fire’
Devastating wildfires on both ends of California pushed into new territory Saturday, as fatigued firefighters worked to evacuate residents in harm’s way and contain blazes that already have claimed at least 11 lives, destroyed thousands of homes and other structures and scorched hundreds of square miles.
High winds and dangerous fire conditions aren’t letting up this weekend, forecasters and state emergency officials warned. The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for the Sacramento Valley and Sierra foothills through 7 a.m. Monday, and a Red Flag Warning through Monday for the coastal mountains of Northern California and large portions of the Bay Area.
Here is the latest on some of the largest and most devastating fires currently burning in California.
Sparking at about 6 a.m. Thursday near Pulga Road in Butte County, the Camp Fire was reported at 100,000 acres (156 square miles) with 2 percent containment as of Cal Fire’s 9:30 a.m. Saturday incident report. As of Saturday evening, at least 23 have been confirmed dead. Four of them were found in their cars on a single street, apparently overcome by fire. Three were found on the ground outside of residences, and the last was found in a residence.
An estimated 6,600 commercial and residential structures have been reportedly destroyed, most of them in Paradise, a town of about 27,000 people that has been virtually wiped out by the blaze, reports and photos show.
More than 15,000 structures in Butte County remain threatened by the blaze, which continues to grow under “extreme fire and weather conditions,” according to the latest incident report.
Three firefighter injuries have been reported so far related to the fire, Cal Fire said.
More than 3,200 fire officials among 67 crews were working to contain the fire as of Friday morning.
An extremely fast-spreading wildfire in Ventura County jumped Highway 101 and presented “imminent threat” to the beachfront city of Malibu, Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted 7 a.m. Friday. The fire is at 70,000 acres (110 square miles) and 0 percent containment, according to Cal Fire’s 11:40 a.m. Saturday incident report.
The City of Malibu tweeted just before 12:30 p.m. Friday: “Fire is burning out of control, heading into populated areas of Malibu. All residents evacuate now.”
More than 75,000 homes have been under evacuation order in Ventura and Los Angeles counties due to the Woolsey Fire, reported at 12:50 p.m. at 14,000 acres.
The entire city of Malibu was ordered to evacuate Friday morning as well as surrounding areas south of Highway 101, the entire community of Oak Park and sections of Thousand Oaks, according to a Ventura County incident webpage.
Ventura County Fire Department tweeted that intense winds fueled the fire overnight, leading it to jump 101.
The fire sparked about 2:30 p.m. Thursday south of Simi Valley.
At least seven evacuation centers have been set up in response to the Woolsey Fire, with four reportedly at capacity, according to Ventura County website. Some centers offered N95 particulate filter masks to evacuees. Updated emergency information and incident maps can be found online at www.vcemergency.com.
Also in Ventura County, a brush fire broke out about 2 p.m. Thursday and grew to 4,530 acres (7 square miles) with 25 percent containment by Saturday morning. One person has been reported injured and more than 400 structures are under threat, according to Ventura County Fire Department’s latest incident report.
The blaze has forced the closure of Pepperdine University, CSU Channel Islands, Cal Lutheran University, Moorpark Community College and many Ventura County K-12 schools, according to the emergency incident webpage.
A 1,500-acre fire burning near Suisun City in Solano County has not prompted evacuation orders or threatened structures.
The fire reached an estimated 95 percent containment as of 11 a.m. Friday, Cal Fire reported. No roadways were closed as of Friday.