California Faces Its Most Destructive Wildfire In State History

Woolsey Fire in Ventura County nearly doubles overnight to 70,000 acres, Hwy. 101 still closed | The Modesto Bee

Firefighters in California on Saturday battled raging blazes at both ends of the state that have left at least nine people dead and thousands of homes destroyed - but there was little hope of containing the flames anytime soon. Officials said two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.

The fast-moving blaze has destroyed the Northern California town of Paradise, killed at least nine people and sent smoke billowing across much of the state.

More than 3,200 fire personnel were fighting the blaze as of Saturday morning, including 67 hand crews and 67 bulldozers digging lines to try to stop its spread. "I don't even know what to say".

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor", Trump tweeted Saturday. "We're talking about a serious fire situation, but thankfully we have not lost a single life".

About 500 miles (800 km) to the south in Los Angeles County, the 35,000-acre (14,100 hectares) Woolsey Fire was threatening thousands of homes and more than 200,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders early on Saturday.

A quarter of a million people have been forced from their homes statewide as the Camp Fire in the north and two other major fires - Woolsey and Hill - in Southern California burned this weekend. Firefighters carried people from homes and put them in empty seats of their neighbors' cars, said Carol Napoli, 74.

Among those forced to flee were celebrities including Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, who said on Twitter that flames had damaged the home she shares in nearby Calabasas with Kanye West. "Our weather conditions out there, and our fuel conditions are absolutely right for fire ... when we ask you to leave, please leave early".

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Governor-elect Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to provide assistance to the hardest-hit areas in the fire-prone state.

Three-quarters of residents in the city of 130,000, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Los Angeles, was under evacuation orders - and that likely included people affected by the shooting, Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox said. Brown told a press briefing that federal and state governments must do more forest management but said that's not the source of the problem. "Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"

"There's not going to be any relief in this firefight", he said.

Alyssa Milano, who on Friday tweeted that her house was "in jeopardy" but she had gotten needed help to evacuate her horses and that her children were safe, was among the lucky ones.

Sheen ("The West Wing", "Apocalypse Now"), interviewed by a TV station on the beach Friday night after fleeing his home, said the fire was the worst he has ever seen.

California emerged from a five-year statewide drought last year, but has had a very dry 2018, pushing parts back into drought and leaving other sections, like the area of the Northern California fire, abnormally dry. "It's like we're all walking around kind of in a trance". It killed eight people in July and August and burned about 1,100 homes. "We are trying to take advantage of this moment and make the most progress we can".

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