Malibu Under Evacuation Orders as Massive Fire Rages

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

Nine people were declared dead and tens of thousands evacuated Friday as fierce wildfires raged across the western U.S. state of California, with one rapidly spreading blaze threatening the famed resort of Malibu.

The blaze erupted Thursday afternoon in Simi Valley, northeast of Thousand Oaks, not far from where a gunman shot dead 12 people in a mass shooting Wednesday night, spreading quickly, propelled by 70 miles per hour winds.

The sheriff's office said the victims were found near the town of Paradise, which was destroyed by a blaze that forced thousands of residents to flee as it rapidly approached the outskirts of the city of Chico early Friday.

In Southern California, the 4,047ha Woolsey Fire led authorities on Friday morning to expand mandatory evacuation orders to the entire city of Malibu, known for the many celebrities that call it home.

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.

A Southern California wildfire continues to burn homes as it runs toward the sea.

As the Woolsey Fire made its way across Ventura County, it burned around the Santa Susana Field Lab, a site that has been considered "significantly contaminated" by decades of rocket and nuclear reactor testing and a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959.

Dozens of people have been reported missing and remained unaccounted for Friday morning.

Renowned movie director Guillermo del Toro, like many of his famous neighbors, hastily abandoned his home in Agoura Hills.

In the midst of the chaos, officials said they could not provide figures on the number of wounded, but County Cal Fire Chief Darren Read said at a news conference that at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.

Paradise, which has a population of 26,000, has also been struck badly, with the blaze having grown to almost 140sq miles and destroyed around 6,500 structures.

And on Friday, Newsom also declared a state of emergency for the raging fires also ravaging Ventura County near Los Angeles as well. "All residents evacuate now", the city said via Twitter.

On Instagram, reality TV star Kim Kardashian urged people to "pray for Calabasas". Another fire northwest of Los Angeles has been swept southward toward the ocean by strong Santa Ana winds.

"Just landed back home and had 1 hour to pack up & evacuate our home".

These numbers make it one of the most destructive blazes in state history, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire protection data.

"I was frantic", she said.

These are firestorms - towering, fast-moving walls of flames hundreds of feet high - the kind of fires that are not only uncontrolled by firefighters, but uncontrollable.

Police officer and resident Mark Bass described the apocalyptic scenes, saying: 'We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road'. Nine people died - some in their cars as they tried to flee the racing flames.



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