California wildfires: Malibu homes burn as death toll climbs to nine


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

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.

Residents in affluent Malibu are the latest to be at risk from scalding flames caused by the Woolsey Fire, spreading southwards from Los Angeles.

When Paradise was evacuated, the order set off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got stuck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot.

The Camp Fire has killed at least five people and destroyed 2,000 buildings in the Northern California city of Paradise.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean told KTVU on Friday.

"This event was the worst-case scenario", he said.

The Butte County Sheriff's office said the victims were found dead in vehicles that had been burned by the Camp Fire that left a trail of destruction in its path. "Regrettably, not everybody made it out".

Acting Governor Newsom sent a letter to President Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting an emergency declaration that would make federal assistance available to the communities affected by the wildfires.

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"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor", he wrote in a Twitter post. "Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!", he added. A list compiled by a local news affiliate reports a growing number of missing people after almost the entire town of Paradise, population roughly 30,000, has been destroyed. Some people abandoned their cars and ran for their lives.

The blaze, called Camp Fire, broke out on Thursday evening and was only 5% contained as of nightfall on Friday.

The Woolsey Fire jumped the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon Road and Chesebro Road.

Traffic jammed on sections of Pacific Coast Highway and some evacuated to popular Zuma Beach.

Kim Kardashian, Alyssa Milano and Melissa Etheridge were among thousands fleeing from their homes. "Imminent threat! Malibu lakes residents must leave area immediately".

Two blazes were raging last night - one in the north of the state, another west of Los Angeles near Thousand Oaks, the site of a mass shooting earlier this week.

The Los Angeles Fire Department reported at 7:53 a.m. Friday that a brush fire has also broken out in Griffith Park, near the zoo.

"We have five confirmed", the official said on Friday when asked about the number of fatalities related to the wildfires.