Violent Fires in California: 9 deaths, Malibu threatened

Debris smoking, cars reduced to carcasses: California firefighters still fought against devastating fires where at least nine people were killed and thousands of homes were destroyed on Saturday, with little hope to control the various disasters in the coming days.

More than 250,000 people have been instructed to evacuate their homes in a vast area near the capital of this western state of the United States, Sacramento, and in the popular resort of Malibu, in southern California.

So far, the bodies of nine people have only been found in paradise, in Butte County, north of Sacramento.

Since Thursday morning more than 6,700 buildings have been devoured by the fire "Campfire", now the most destructive ever recorded in California, for the majority of homes.

A dozen kilometers around Paradise, the sky was darkened by sharp smoke and the sun was barely visible.

The inhabitants fled the danger, while on the road leading to the city center, cars were destroyed. The electric poles had been gnawed together by fire.

"Only a few farmers came back to see what their cattle look like," a policewoman told AFP.

The fire has so far consumed more than 40,000 hectares and is controlled by only 20%, according to CalFire, the California Fire Department. Three of the more than 3,200 firefighters were injured.

– Destruction "incredible" –

"The whole lower part of Paradise is currently a prey for the flames, and no house will stand, I collapsed," testified to KIEM TV Kevin Winstead, a resident in a nearby town, Winstead.

The authorities estimate that it will take three weeks to control the flames in this area of ​​the Sierra Nevada foothills.

"The extent of the destruction we've seen is really unbelievable and heartbreaking," said Mark Ghilarducci of the governor's office of the California governor on Friday.

President Donald Trump, who travels to France for the centenary ceremonies of the Armistice in the First World War, has been tough against California, which has just elected a Democratic Governor.

"There is no reason for this massive California fires, deadly and expensive, except that forest management is so bad," said Saturday on the American president.

"Billions of dollars are donated every year, so many lives are lost, all because of bad forest management.Resolution now, otherwise there will be no federal payments!", He added.

In Southern California, where more fires are blowing, 200,000 people, including Malibu, near Los Angeles, the home of many celebrities, have been ordered to evacuate because of the Woolsey fire. which has devoured nearly 28,000 hectares and has destroyed at least 150 houses since Thursday afternoon.

– Filmed locations destroyed –

"I have been living in Malibu for 23 years, since I was born, and I saw flames from the mountains above the house," AFP told Heili Hoffmann to AFP. "I felt the trees burn and I knew I had to go."

Several personalities such as Kim Kardashian or Alyssa Milano have also had to leave their homes.

"I heard that the flames had reached our property, but the fire is now locked in. I pray that the wind is in our favor," tweeted Kim Kardashian.

Actor Martin Sheen, briefly missing by his son Charlie, evacuated.

"We are doing well, we are in Zuma Beach, we are probably going to sleep in the car tonight," Martin Sheen told Fox News 11.

The fire also destroyed film locations that were used for hundreds of productions, including the HBO series "Westworld".

Another house is raging in Ventura County, near Thousand Oaks, where a former soldier opened fire in a city bar on Wednesday night and killed 12 people before committing suicide.

California has been hit by many deadly fires since the end of 2017, which have become particularly violent due to drought and wind.

burs-jt / ska / wd / thm / cls