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Wildfire triggers evacuation order for Malibu

14 November 2018, 02:04 | Tara Lloyd

A firefighter battles embers from a burning home off Wembly Avenue and Lindero Canyon Road on Thursday night

New mandatory evacuations issued as 4,000-acre Woolsey fire tears into Oak Park burning homes

One fire burned an area equivalent to the size of a football field every second from Thursday into Friday.

The fire erupted on Thursday near the northwest corner of the city of Los Angeles as the region's notorious Santa Ana winds blew harder, triggering an overnight evacuation of 75,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

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.

The Camp Fire in northern California was responsible for the five deaths, and destroyed most of the nearby town of Paradise, forcing some people to leave their cars and escape the fire's path on foot.

The so-called Woolsey Fire burning west of Los Angeles has surpassed 15 square miles Friday morning and is continuing to grow. Cal Fire reports that the fires are being fueled by high winds and extremely dry conditions. Parts of that major freeway were closed in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, fire officials said.

The flames are now threatening coastal areas further south, fire officials said.

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The Woolsey fire had jumped the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills early Friday and forced mandatory evacuations, including the entire city of Malibu, a city home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Southern California is reeling from the impact of two fires burning near some of the country's most populated cities.

"I was frantic", she said.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office confirmed the reports of fatalities this morning, but didn't give any idea of numbers. Nervous relatives posted on Twitter or called 911 dispatchers hoping to find loved ones behind the fire line.

The L.A. Times reported that a total of 75,000 homes in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties are now under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders, including Westlake Village and parts of Calabasas, where numerous entertainers including Alyssa Milano and Kim Kardashian have lavish homes.

President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed the fires on forest mismanagement and threatened to withdraw related federal funding.

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"Hopefully they're able to get it under control and save this neighborhood", he said.

Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimated that the number of Paradise buildings lost in the blaze was in the thousands.

The wind-driven blaze also spread to the west and reached the edge of Chico, a city of 90,000 people.

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.

"It's a mandatory evacuation, what that means is, you don't have to leave, we want you to leave", Ventura County Fire spokesman Rich Macklan told The Independent on November 9. Some people left their cars there "and took off running, carrying their babies and kids". Also at 0 percent contained, authorities say flames could continue to blaze all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Paradise, a town of around 27,000, has been evacuated entirely but the town has been "devastated" by the fire, with at least 1,000 structures reportedly destroyed on day one.

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