Thousands flee raging wildfires in California

Clay Curtis
November 9, 2018

The Camp Fire in Northern California exploded in size Thursday, burning about 20,000 acres and overtaking the town of Paradise, where around 30,000 people were forced to evacuate at the last minute.

About 2:30 a.m., all evacuation orders in the city of Los Angeles were changed from mandatory to voluntary, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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Early Friday morning, the wildfire jumped the 101 in Ventura County into Agoura Hills, closing a 4-mile stretch of the highway.

No injuries have been reported.

Residents have now been ordered to evacuate from several more towns to the west of Thousand Oaks, including Calabasas immediately south of Highway 101 and Malibu on the coast, as well as from the western edge of Los Angeles.

About 1,000 structures have been reportedly destroyed, a lot of them in Paradise, a town of about 26,000 people that has been virtually wiped out by the exploding blaze, reports and photos show.

The Camp Fire headed to the outskirts of Chico early on Friday, forcing thousands to flee after it left the nearby town of Paradise in ruins, California fire officials said.

Both fires erupted Thursday afternoon and have grown rapidly.

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"We're talking devastated", McLean said.

At least 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties are under evacuation orders, and some structures have already been destroyed, officials said.

Evacuation notices were announced for Chico, which is home to around 93,000 people and is about 90 miles north of Sacramento.

Winds were blowing between 25-30 miles per hour and pushed the fire across the freeway onto Conejo Mountain toward the Pacific Coast Highway.

Howling Santa Ana winds were driving the Woolsey and Hill fires.

The Ventura County Fire Department reports structures, outbuildings, and vehicles have been damaged and destroyed.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for California State University Channel Islands and for the Camarillo Springs area, according to Ventura County Fire Department officials.

Los Angeles county and city crews were assisting in the firefight, which was taking place as a second, larger brush fire raged further west in Ventura County in the Santa Rosa Valley and Thousand Oaks area.

More than 400 firefighters from Ventura County, Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles and Cal Fire were battling the brush fire. The highway is expected to remain closed Friday morning, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

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