Northern California's Paradise 'Destroyed' as More Wildfires Rage

An unknown number of homes and buildings in Paradise have been destroyed by the Camp Fire

California wildfire destroys homes, hospital; deaths reported

In Northern California, at least nine people died when a wildfire tore through the town of Paradise - home to about 30,000 people - and incinerated more than 6,700 structures - nearly all of the homes.

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

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, low humidity combined with strong offshore Santa Ana winds prompted the National Weather Service to issue an "extremely critical" fire weather alert, its highest warning for wildfire risk. Flames from the unchecked, 20,000-acre (8,100-hectare) Camp Fire were being driven westward by 35-mile-per hour (56 km-per-hour) winds, fire officials said.

Residents have been told to avoid the canyon routes out of the city, and Pacific Coast Highway is quickly becoming jammed as residents got the early morning order to leave one of the region's most tony cities.

Reality star Kim Kardashian, actress Alyssa Milano, and director Guillermo del Toro were among the many celebrities forced to pack up and flee their upscale homes in Calabasas and Malibu with flames licking their heels.

But he noted that the Woolsey fire was zero-percent contained so far, and growing.

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

The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted that the fire raging through the Santa Monica Mountains was headed to the ocean.

Also burning farther west in Ventura County was the Hill Fire, which fire officials said burned almost 4,050 hectares by Thursday night. Los Angeles Times Resident Brett Hammond evacuates in Malibu as the Woolsey Fire approaches. An Instagram photo she made shows plumes of thick smoke heading towards her estate.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", said Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean late Thursday. "God is good. I'm just praying everyone is safe" she wrote.

A former US Marine combat veteran opened fire in a bar packed with college students in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night, killing 12 people and stunning a community with a reputation for safety.

Another fire to the west has burned more than 9 square miles in Ventura County but has slowed since reaching the footprint of a fire stripped away vegetation in 2013.

Firefighters admit they are being beaten by the intense flames and have turned their attention to helping people escape.

Some 250,000 residents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have been evacuated with firefighters still unable to contain the blaze.

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