California: fire record rises to nine dead

The record is getting worse. Serious fires traveling through several parts of California, USA, have killed at least nine people.

The victims died in a fire raging in the northern part of this state on the US Pacific coast. Five of them (four were in their vehicles and one was on the ground, nearby) were discovered in Paradise, north of the capital Sacramento. The 26,000 inhabitants had all been ordered to evacuate. Three other deaths were discovered Friday outside a house and another at home. Dozens more are missing.

Satellite image taken Friday over the city of Paradise, California. Reuters

Rescuers continue to look for possible victims of this fire called Camp fire. Their working conditions are difficult, the flames being far from being circumscribed.

From a material point of view, this fire is already the most destructive in the history of California since statistics are recorded. According to the chain The weather channel6,000 buildings have already been destroyed in one county. The city of Paradise has been partly destroyed. Hundreds of homes have been ravaged, as well as a hospital, a gas station, many vehicles and several restaurants. "I think we lost a high school and at least one of the elementary schools," said city mayor Jody Jones, quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

600 km further south, near Los Angeles, the city of Malibu is on alert because of a violent fire that started Thursday about 20 km. Several celebrities, many to live in this opulent region, had to evacuate, like Kim Kardashian, the actress Alyssa Milano and the Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.

Thirty houses have already burned in this fire called Woolsey fire. "I have been living in Malibu for 23 years since I was born, and I have seen the flames coming from the mountains above the house," said Heili Hoffmann. "I felt the trees burn, and I knew I had to leave, for my safety. A part of the city of 12,000 inhabitants is also without electricity.

Malibu (California, USA), Friday. The smoke of a fire, along the Pacific coast. AFP / Robyn Beck

"We live in very stressful times," said Ventura County Manager Linda Sparks. "Many first aid members have not slept and as there are other fires in the state of California, we have not received as much help as we wanted."

California has been hit since the end of 2017 by many fires, made particularly violent by drought and weather conditions, which have killed more than a dozen people.

Calabasas (California, USA), Friday. Ruins and a car that burns a few miles from Malibu. Reuters

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