Nine dead as California fires continue to rage

Berkeley Fire Department responding to fires in Oakland, Butte County

In less than 24 hours, the Camp Fire torched Paradise homes, - businesses, supermarkets, restaurants and a retirement home - was left "pretty much.destroyed", California Fire Capt. Scott McLean said. "These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday".

The blaze began early on Thursday and quickly charred 18,000 acres (3,237 hectares), forcing the evacuation of the 27,000 residents of Paradise, about 85 miles (240 km) north of Sacramento, Cal Fire said in a statement.

"Anything to bring more attention to Paradise". "I'm driving through fire as we speak".

Evacuations were ordered for the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people, as flames from the blaze were being driven by 56-kilometer-per-hour winds.

He said he evacuated his family and then returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man carrying his bedridden wife to safety. "We had to ride through flames to get here", he said from the side of a road west of Paradise. Paradise is 180 miles (289 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco. "It's that kind of devastation", he said.

In all, the Woolsey Fire led authorities to issue evacuation orders for 75,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The responding fire agencies from Ventura and Los Angeles Counties also consulted independent hazardous materials coordinators who agreed with the conclusion that toxic material from the site was unlikely to have been spread due to the fire.

State fire official Koby Johns said 2,000 buildings have been destroyed and another 2,000 buildings and 15,000 homes were "at imminent danger of burning".

The fire in Paradise was reported shortly after daybreak in a rural area.

Two fast-moving wildfires that exploded in the Southern California hills have claimed nine lives and forced thousands to flee their homes, including the entire city of Malibu, a sprawling naval base and many Hollywood celebrity homes.

The department was trying to find them temporary housing, Sheriff Kory Honea said. "We're working very hard to get people out".

"I don't have all of the details because we have investigators out on the field attempting to get to those locations" where the casualties were reported, Honea said at a press conference. Several evacuation centers were set up in nearby towns.

As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.

By 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Paradise resident Tanah Clunies-Ross said she could not see her auto from her front door through the cloud of smoke. Miller at first scoffed at the notion of getting back in a vehicle.

"This event was the worst-case scenario", he said.

Thick gray smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

On the outskirts of town, Patrick Knuthson, a fourth-generation resident, said only two of the 22 homes that once stood on his street are still there - his and a neighbor's. "I'll be darned if I'm going to let those horses burn in the fire", said Fallon, who stayed on her property to protect her 14 horses, all of which survived.

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