Thousands of residents just outside Los Angeles have been ordered to evacuate immediately as a massive wildfire advances, fanned by strong winds.
In Southern California, a pair of wildfires forced the evacuation of tens of thousands, including the city of Malibu.
The Los Angeles Police Department was placed on a citywide tactical alert early Friday to ensure all resources are available to assist with any evacuation orders and road closures prompted by the Woolsey Fire, according to a statement from the department.
All nine victims were found in and around the Northern California town of Paradise, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were burned down by the Camp Fire, making it one of the most destructive in state history, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire protection data.
The fire in Paradise was reported shortly after daybreak Thursday.
The lion's share was lost in Paradise, said John Gaddie, a spokesman for Cal Fire.
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The city of Malibu is under a mandatory evacuation order as the Woolsey fire threatens the communities of Calabasas and Malibu, covering as much as 8,000 acres as of Friday morning.
In Southern California, strong Santa Ana winds were fanning two fires, including the Woolsey Fire, which by Friday morning had burned across U.S. 101 and was heading in the direction of Malibu. "We all know this is the second fire that occurred in Ventura County, and it's on the heels of what's happened up in Northern California where they've had devastating loss in Butte County". "I pray everyone is safe", she said. "It was the event we have feared for a long time", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a Friday evening press conference. Investigators found the five people in the area of Edgewood Lane in Paradise inside of cars.
ABC7.com reports that one of the fires has now scorched 8,000 acres as winds picked up early Friday, with some 75,000 homes under evacuation orders along the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted that the fire raging through the Santa Monica Mountains was headed to the ocean. Almost 2,300 firefighters are battling the flames, but as of Friday morning, it was still zero percent contained. Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband, Lou, left a frantic voicemail around 9:30 a.m. saying they needed to get out. The fire has burned approximately 20,000 acres and several thousand buildings, and forced the evacuation of all 30,000 residents. "People started getting out of their vehicles and running".
Butte County Sheriff's Office said an evacuation ordered had been issued for the small communities of Stirling City and Inskip. This one is just to the east of that city, part of which was evacuated.
With three fires burning around Southern California, state officials believe about 157,000 have been displaced. "All residents, from Ventura County Line to the area of the Getty Villa and the Ventura (101) Freeway to the ocean, must evacuate as soon as possible".
"Extreme fire behaviour with unsafe rates of spread are expected", says an incident update, adding that the fire will continue to burn in the south west direction, threatening the City of Orville.