At least nine people have died in the last few hours in California (United States) in three major fires that have forced evacuation of more than 150,000 people. There are still a large number of disappeared at this time. The largest fire – and the only one that has hitherto been deadly – is what affects the northern part of the state and that in just over 24 hours it has devastated 28,000 hectares and has devoured much of the municipality of Paradise, 26,000 inhabitants, about 280 kilometers from San Francisco. "The magnitude of the destruction that we are seeing is bleak," said director of the Emergency Services office of California, Mark Ghilarducci.
Five of the nine fatalities that have been registered at least in this town have died while trying to flee the flames by road and their bodies have been found inside or outside their vehicles. Three more were out of their own and the last one, inside a home. In Paradise, but it is not ruled out that the number of deaths increases, as there are still dozens of missing people.
The intense traffic that has been registered during evacuation has led many people to leave the cars and to flee on foot, which still complicated the circulation and generated situations of chaos. Paradise city councilor Scott Lotter, who left the town together with his family, assured the newspaper "The Sacramento Bee" that "the whole town is in flames" and described a scene of "horror and chaos ", With collapsed roads and abandoned vehicles.
Due to the strong wind blowing in the area and that, along with drought, has contributed to the rapid expansion of the flames, the smoke has come to notice hundreds of miles away from the fire and has affected the Bay of San Francisco, where the red alert for the poor air quality has been declared.
The other two fires, of lesser intensity, affect the southern part of the state. One of the fires, which has burnt 3,200 hectares and has forced evacuation of 75,000 residences, is located between the city of Malibú, Thousand Oaks and the town of Calabasas, while the other burns up the Santa Rosa valley.
The three fires have spread rapidly due to drought and wind strength. Serious fires are increasingly frequent in the most populated state of the United States, as shown by the official record, which dates back to 1932 and places four of the five most destructive fires in the last six years. This September firefighters controlled the largest fire documented so far in California.