- California is dealing with several dangerous
wildfires. The Woolsey and Hill fires are burning on the
outskirts of LA, and the Camp Fire in northern California
destroyed an entire town in less than a day.
- The flames are being fueled by dry, hot conditions as well as
- People in San Francisco, more than 170 miles from the Camp
Fire, woke up to a hazy sky and extremely poor air quality.
- Another small brush fire started Friday
morning near the Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park, and
quickly scorched three acres.
- California wildfires are becoming so frequent and pervasive
that officials there say there’s almost no need for the term
“wildfire season” anymore.
Three dangerous wildfires are raging in California.
The Camp Fire, in northern
California, started Thursday morning and quickly charred the
entire town of Paradise, which is home to 27,000. The flames grew
so fast — a pace of 80 football fields per
minute — that four people were burned to death in their cars,
the Butte County sheriff Korey Honea told the Associated Press.
One deceased person was found near a vehicle.
According to the sheriff, the department has received 35 missing
persons reports. So far, at least nine people have died as a
result of the Camp Fire. In addition to those found in or near a
vehicle, one person was found inside a home.
As of 6:00 p.m. PT, fire officials said the blaze had burned
90,000 acres in just over 24 hours, and was 5% contained.
More than 6,700 structures were destroyed. It is now considered
the most destructive wildfire in California history in terms of
the number of structures destroyed.
To the south, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, two smaller fires
also started Thursday and are now creating havoc for drivers and
forcing homeowners to flee. The Woolsey and Hill Fires are
burning through parts of Ventura and LA counties. The flames have
threatened the homes of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and
shut down stretches of the 101 freeway.
Inside the city limits of LA, another smaller fire broke out Friday
morning in Griffith Park near the zoo. Firefighters there are
scrambling to reach the area by helicopter, since it’s not
accessible by truck.
Southern California fire officials say the flames have burned at
least 150 homes. They say that number is likely to increase.
Already this year, 7,578 fires have burned across
California, fueled by hot, dry conditions and aggressive
Camp Fire claims at least 9 lives
The Camp Fire started about 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. So far, more
than 6,700 structures have burned and thousands more are
According to the Butte County sheriff’s office, five of the
people whose deaths have been confirmed were found near Edgewood
Lane in Paradise, California, in or near “vehicles that were
overcome by the Camp Fire.” The sheriff’s office was not yet able
to identify those victims because of their burn injuries. Other
residents ran from the fire, the
Sacramento Bee reported.
California Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom
declared a state of emergency in Butte County because of the
Camp Fire Thursday, and sent a letter to President Donald
Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asking
for federal assistance.
Smoke from that fire is blanketing wide swaths of Northern
California in a gray haze. On Friday morning, people in San
Francisco woke up to the smell of smoke and poor air quality, and some donned masks to
protect their lungs.
Federal air monitors have suggested that older adults,
children, teens, and people with heart and lung conditions should
limit their time outside because of the high number of dangerously small pollutants
in the air. The air in San Francisco right now is as bad as
Beijing, CBS reported.
The Hill and Woolsey Fires are growing in Ventura and LA counties
Late Friday night, fire officials downgraded the Hill Fire to
4,500 acres burned in Ventura County, and mandatory evacuation orders are in place for
people at the Point Mugu Naval Base and California State
University Channel Islands, among other areas. The blaze was 15%
of 8:12 p.m. local time on Friday.
The Woolsey Fire (the one that forced Kim and Kourtney Kardashian
out of their homes) has charred 35,000 acres, the AP reported
Friday evening, and the LA County Fire Department said the blaze was still 0%
contained as of 5:45 p.m. PT on Friday. Mandatory evacuations
have been ordered in areas including Malibu, Topanga, and
Thousand Oaks (the same city
where a mass shooter killed 12 people on Wednesday), the LA Times reported.
“Imminent threat! Malibu lakes residents must leave area
immediately,” the LA County fire department wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
Shortly after noon on Friday, the City of Malibu
said on its website that the “fire is now burning out of
control and heading into populated areas of Malibu. All residents
must evacuate immediately.” LA County Sheriff‘s Deputies were
knocking on doors there, telling everyone in the star-studded
beach town to get out.
So far, there are no reported injuries or deaths from either of
the Southern California fires. But as a result of the blazes,
250,000 people in Ventura and LA counties had been evacuated as
of Friday night, the Times said.
By Friday evening, about 75% of the Ventura County city of
Thousand Oaks had been abandoned, fire officials said according
to the Associated Press.
Firefighters are racing to keep flames from charring people’s
homes, but as the LA Fire Department’s Eric Scott pointed
out on Twitter, some houses are better protected than others,
since green vegetation can help keep flames back.
On Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the two fires broke
out, acting Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los
Angeles and Ventura counties.
The fires have forced the 101 freeway to shut down in a couple
different areas. In Ventura County, a nine-mile southbound stretch from Wendy
Drive to Lewis Road where the Hill Fire raged, was closed. In
LA County, a section of the freeway from the
Mulholland Drive/Valley Circle Boulevard exit to Reyes Adobe Road
was closed to traffic both ways after flames from the Woolsey
Fire jumped across the highway.
Wildfire “season,” in California used to run from late summer
through the fall, since autumn’s Santa Ana winds help blow flames
around. But as the planet heats up, unseasonably high
temperatures and drought conditions are becoming more common. So
fire officials in the state are succumbing to the idea that fires may not be limited to any specific
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.