Five die in California wildfires, 150,000 forced to flee

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through the area

California wildfire destroys homes, hospital; deaths reported

More than 250,000 have been evacuated across the state of California, which is now battling three wildfires, fanned by strong winds.

The Camp Fire's most significant growth happened Thursday afternoon, when it grew 10,000 acres in about 90 minutes, more than one football field per second, according to CNN.

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

About 75,000 homes have been evacuated in Los Angeles and Ventura counties due to two fires in the region.

The fire has also reportedly destroyed one of the sets for the TV series Westworld. Firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place Friday, Cal Fire Cpt.

A former US Marine combat veteran opened fire in a bar packed with college students in the town on Wednesday night, killing 12 people and stunning a leafy community with a reputation for safety. But he noted that the Woolsey fire was zero-percent contained so far, and growing. It was unclear how many homes have been evacuated within the City of Los Angeles.

With fires also burning in Southern California, state officials put the total number of people forced from their homes at 157,000. The director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services says fires across California have forced 157,000 people from their homes. The state's most destructive fire in at least a century had grown Friday to nearly 140 square miles (362 square kilometers) and had destroyed more than 6,700 structures, almost all of them homes.

More than 2,200 firefighters are battling the Camp Fire, which, like the other two fires, has been exacerbated by intensely gusty, dry weather - conditions during which "a simple spark can cause a major wildfire", explains the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.




Numerous dead are people who were in their cars attempting to flee the racing flames.

"This was a rapidly moving fire", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record.

"You could feel the heat from the flames", said McMillen, who returned Friday and found his home intact but stinking of smoke.

Kardashian, and her sister Kourtney, said they had left their homes in nearby Calabasas late on Thursday. Fire surrounded the evacuation route, and drivers panicked.

Concerned friends and family posted anxious messages on Twitter and other sites, saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone.

Much of Southern California was under a red flag warning from the fires as gusty winds were expected to reach between 20 and 40 miles per hour, and in some areas, up to 65 miles per hour.

"It's devastating. It's like 'welcome to hell, ' " resident Cynthia Ball said about the dual disasters while she was outside the teen center serving as a shelter for evacuees. On Friday, it moved over the Santa Monica Mountains toward Malibu, where flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) raced down hillsides and through canyons toward multi-million dollar homes.

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