Wildfire deaths confirmed in Butte County as Newsom declares emergency for Ventura

Irene MckinneyNov 10, 2018

Two large wildfires that started November 8 near Thousand Oaks, California have prompted officials to place 75,000 homes under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders. "You pose a danger to yourself and emergency responders", Ventura County Fire Department Captain Scott Dettorre said about the drivers.

Residents in affluent Malibu are the latest to be at risk from scalding flames caused by the Woolsey Fire, spreading southwards from Los Angeles.

The fire then pushed southward, jumped the wide US 101 freeway before dawn Friday and pushed into the Santa Monica range. The threat continues Friday morning, with millions of Californians under "red flag" warningsportending windy, arid and warm conditions that pose extreme fire risks.

He says the fire's pace forced firefighters to focus on life-protection rather than saving structures and he expects that yet-to-be-determined number to be significant.

The fire broke out Thursday northwest of Los Angeles and roared southward, jumping the US 101 freeway early Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Woolsey Fire appeared to be the more unsafe of the two blazes, and was burning south through the Kanan Road corridor toward Malibu and the ocean.

Residents have now been ordered to evacuate from several more towns to the west of Thousand Oaks, including Calabasas immediately south of Highway 101 and Malibu on the coast, as well as from the western edge of Los Angeles. The fire near the Northern California town of Paradise has grown to almost 110 square miles.

"In the past few years, just the way fires have moved, firefighters have had to help with evacuations before they can go back in to put out the fire", Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

While not as big as the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire, which now measures approximately 8,000 acres, is in a much more densely populated area.

Ventura and Los Angeles county agencies have a unified command of the incident, in addition to CalFire. Winds were blowing between 25-30 miles per hour and pushed the fire across the freeway onto Conejo Mountain toward the Pacific Coast Highway.

Thousands were evacuated, including from schools and hospitals.

Howling Santa Ana winds were driving the Woolsey and Hill fires.

Meanwhile, the Hill Fire, located just down the road from the Thousand Oaks bar where 12 people were killed earlier this week in a mass shooting, has topped 10,000 acres. The blaze sent residents fleeing, and now threatens the city of Chico, home to 90,000 people.

Firefighters are challenged by residents moving about evacuation areas and high traffic as they follow the fire front.

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