US: Destructive wildfire ravages California, 11 reported dead - NewzEmpire

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

US: Destructive wildfire ravages California, 11 reported dead


At least 11 people have died in the most destructive wildfires ripping through north and south California. More than 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.

Firefighters were powerless in stopping a wildfire destroying the northern town of Paradise, where nine people died and 35 are missing.

Another fire swept into the affluent southern beach resort of Malibu on Friday and has now doubled in size. Two more people were reported to have died in that fire, known as the Woolsey, which now covers an area of 70,000 acres (28,000 hectares).

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

President Trump has responded by blaming what he called gross mismanagement of the forests and warned of funding cuts.

Meteorologists have warned that dangerous conditions may continue well into next week, but firefighters are hoping to take advantage of a temporary lull in the wind fanning the flames.

The blaze started on Thursday near Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles (64km) north-west of central Los Angeles. Another blaze, the Hill Fire, started at about the same time, also near Thousand Oaks. On Friday, the flames jumped Highway 101 and headed into coastal areas.

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All residents have been ordered to evacuate. Los Angeles County sheriff's Chief John Benedict said on Saturday that two people had been found dead but provided no details on the deaths. Malibu and nearby Calabasas are home to many celebrities.


The singer Lady Gaga said she had evacuated her home in Malibu, posting a video on Instagram that showed dark smoke billowing overhead.

Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro tweeted that he had evacuated, leaving behind his "Bleak House" museum collection of fantasy and horror memorabilia.

The fire has also reportedly destroyed one of the sets for the TV series Westworld and is threatening Malibu's Pepperdine University, a private residential college with more than 7,000 students.

Firefighters have not managed to build containment barriers around the fire but hope to make some progress throughout Saturday. Rescuers used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out of the way in order to reach a hospital and evacuate patients as the fire engulfed the building, Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said.

"There's nothing left standing," said Scott Maclean, the state's forestry and fire protection spokesman.

The fire has now been partially contained.






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