Californian forest fires roar uncontrollably, driving 250,000 people out of their homes

Californian forest fires roar uncontrollably, driving 250,000 people out of their homes

SHUT DOWN

Wild flames in Southern California approached coastal homes along the famous Pacific Coast Highway in the Malibu area. Footage of the wind-driven wildfire was taken by a crew aboard a Firehawk helicopter from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
USA TODAY

Malibu, California – The firefighters hoped that a brief lull in the howling wind would give them a chance on Saturday to block one of the two massive California fires that killed nine people and drove out a quarter of a million people from their homes

Cal Fire officials said the Woolsey fire, which destroyed at least 150 homes and forced residents to evacuate the entire coastal town of Malibu, was still listed as "zero included".

Two other deaths have been reported in Malibu, which may have related to the fire on Friday night, said John Benedict, chief of the Sheriff's Department of Los Angeles.

The campfire that extinguished the The city of Paradise in Butte County, 80 miles north of Sacramento, was only five percent contained.

The short break in the strong wind on Saturday could give the firefighters the chance to control the fire and exchange the crew. They replace the firefighters who had been working peacefully for two days, said Daryl Osby, the Los Angeles Fire Chief.

But as the wind is expected to return to 35 km / h on Sunday, more homes will likely be lost, Osby warned. Ventura Fire Depart chief Mark Lorenzen said the devastating Santa Ana winds could last until Tuesday.

Osby said on Saturday that his firefighters are reporting "conditions they have never seen in their lives".

"We lost many houses," he said. "But we saved thousands of houses."

He said the Saturday firefighter's targets included boundary control on the 101 highway and in Bell Canyon and Malibu Canyon.

Benedict told the reporter that he has 200 police officers on patrol for "plunder suppression." He warned that his department had "zero tolerance" for raiders.

At Pepperdine in Malibu, the lesson was canceled on Saturday after a tense Friday night. When the release order was issued on Saturday around 9:00 am, many students left the area, many wearing face masks.

Despite the evacuation order for Malibu, Hassen Masri, who lives in the neighborhood of the Malibu Country Estates, stayed in his house on Friday and watched the hills raging with fire around them.

By midnight, he saw nearly 20 trucks on the campus of Pepperdine University when officials learned that the students would not be evacuated.

"It was a hairy experience, it was bad, it was really bad," said Masri. "When the fire hit the top of the ridge at midnight, I thought I should go, but I did not, maybe it was crazy that the university did not remove the students, but I'm grateful for the extra resources that were brought along. I felt protected by these extra trucks. "

In Paris, President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration in which he provided federal funds for the districts of Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles, but later threatened on Twitter Federal payments to California are withheld and claim that forest management is "so poor".

"Every year, billions of dollars are spent that killed so many people, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests," he wrote. "Remedy now or no more Fed payments!"

Worst hit was Paradise, a city of 27,000 in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, where nine people died, some of whom burned in their cars as they tried to avoid the sudden approach of the flames.

The city is a popular age community where elderly and immobile residents who have been reported missing express concerns.

On Friday, dozens of burned-out cars and SUVs lined Paradise's main street, known as the Skyway, which was melting from plastic blocks into flames that melted aluminum engine blocks, destroying plastic handles, and exploding windows.

In the afternoon, a small army of firefighters and rescue workers made their way through the rubble. Small fires burned in trees and in the ruins of houses. Power lines scattered the streets and heavy smoke blocked the sun.

For Cinda Larimer, it was the fourth time in 20 years that she evacuated her home in paradise. Three times she has returned to an untouched structure.

Not this time. All she has left is a minivan with four cats, a turtle and her dog named Buddy.

"We've lost everything," said Larimer, 53, as ash from the burning city floated on her shoulders about five miles outside of Paradise. "My mother was evacuated and took only two outfits. Why? For the same reason: we all thought we would go home today. "

More: California is already burning the most destructive in the history of the state

More: Trump threatens to raise funds for California with federal funds. Forest fires over mismanagement of forests

More: California is the worst wildfire of all time

The Camp Fire, which has exploded to 140 square miles and destroyed more than 6,700 buildings – most of them homes – has been the most destructive wildfire in California since records began.

In Southern California, west of Los Angeles, the Woolsey fire has increased to nearly 55 hectares after Highway 101, the main coastal artery, has jumped and raced to the sea.

In less than two days, the Woolsey Fire and smaller Hill Fire, also in Ventura County, has destroyed more than 150 homes and evacuated more than 250,000 people, fire officials said.

Officers ordered the evacuation of the entire city, which spans 21 miles along the coast and includes celebrity homes such as Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson, and Cher.

The attempt by thousands of residents to flee the flames was hampered by clogged roads. In addition, in many parts of Malibu, the power was turned off so the gas pumps did not work.

About 20 miles north, in the smoke-smeared community of Calabasas, locals and sooty firefighters gathered at the Starbucks in the Albertsons store in a seemingly single open shop within the evacuation area.

There was no external power, only electricity from an emergency generator. The residents, many wearing masks to protect them from the smoke, shared videos they had taken on their smartphones and whose backyards were covered with flames.

Paul Bancroft said that he was not near his home, which took three years to build, in a nearby area known as Old Agoura.

The fire burned "to the fence (and began to burn in my bushes," he said, managing to rinse it off with a garden hose.

"I built my house and did not want to leave," Bancroft said

Woodyard reported from Malibu, Hughes from Paradise, California.

Post: Nicole Hayden, from the desert sun; The Associated Press

Automatic playback

Show thumbnails

Show subtitles

Last slideNext slide

Read or share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/11/10/california-wildfires-roar-paradise-woosley-camp-fire/1956183002/

Leave a comment

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.