At least 9 killed when 3 California forest fires destroyed thousands of buildings, forced evacuations - FOX31 Denver

LOS ANGELES – One of the three major wildfires that roar even though California has destroyed 80 to 90% of homes in a city and killed at least nine people, officials said Friday. They also said that the campfire in Northern California has destroyed 6,713 buildings and has grown to 140 square miles.

The rapidly changing forest fires caused thousands of residents to flee, sometimes through streets full of fire-filled streets that forced evacuees to choose whether they were trying to drive to safety or to get out and run.

The big campfire in Northern California left the mayor of paradise, population 26,000, in shock.

"There is not much left, there are few houses and we went to different neighborhoods this afternoon," Mayor Jody Jones said, estimating that only 10 to 20% of the houses are left.

The Butte County sheriff in Northern California said of the nine people who were found dead, there was only one in a home. The others were in cars & # 39; s or outside.

Two large fires in Southern California are just a few miles from the bar, where 12 people were killed during a massive shooting in Thousand Oaks, and evacuations were ordered for nearby Malibu, a seaside city popular with celebrities.

Fanned by strong winds and fed by low humidity and dry vegetation, the fires spread quickly on Thursday and during the night to Friday. The threat went on Friday, with millions of Californians under "red flag" warnings that predicted windy dry and hot conditions that entail extreme fire risks.

This is what we know about the trio of fires:

Campfire: people fleeing & # 39; with their babies & # 39; s & children & # 39;

In northern California, panic residents started fleeing Paradise on Thursday while the Campfire flew through.

Friday morning the main road of the city was covered with fallen trees and power lines. Many of the bushes and grasses were blackened along the valleys and many trees were still burning, a crew of CNN observed there.

A family that evacuated Thursday by driving along fiery roads posted a surprising video on Facebook. The shot shows houses and trees that claim fire, and sparks that blow across the road for them. Suddenly the vehicle breaks through a smoke wall and comes out in the safety of a clear road.

Jones, the mayor, said that a good part of the business district is gone. And while some trees were set on fire, Jones said that most of them remained.

"One of the things that is beautiful about paradise is the trees and they are still there. … I did not expect that, but it's a good thing," Jones said.

At least 40,000 residents were forced to evacuate from Butte County while the fire burned 70,000 hectares.

Flames were also located on the outer edges of Chico, a city of 93,000 people, about 90 miles north of Sacramento.

The full extent of the destruction in the province was still unknown, but authorities said they believe that as many as 2,000 buildings have been destroyed – most of them in Paradise.

Whitney Vaughan described a scene of panic and fear when she remembered that Thursday morning she had had her narrow escape from her Paradise home.

Vaughan and her husband had just fled home when the flames overtook them. She saw a man running past our house while he was carrying a small baby and running as fast as he could & # 39 ;.

They drove away but eventually became entangled in traffic. Flames were a meter away, smoke was thick, cars did not move and people panicked. Some people left their cars there "and walked away with their babies and children."

She cried when she recorded video of the terrifying scene she posted on Facebook. She and her husband could eventually drive safely away.

"We thought the fire would kill us," she told CNN.

Paradise, about 80 miles north of Sacramento, is where at least five people were found dead in their vehicles on a road near where Vaughan recorded her video.

The blaze burned Western Town at Paramount Ranch, according to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, part of the National Park Service. The buildings were seen in films and TV series such as "Westworld" and "The Cisco Kid."

Three firefighters and some civilians were injured, Cal Fire officials said. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

More than 2,200 firefighters fought against the flames and the fire was not preserved, according to Cal Fire.

Woolsey Fire: thousands of homes evacuated, Malibu area threatened

In Southern California, strong Santa Ana winds raged two fires, including the Woolsey Fire, which burned over the US 101 Friday morning and headed towards Malibu.

The Woolsey Fire exploded from 2,000 hectares to 8,000 in the Los Angeles and Ventura provinces in just a few hours. On Friday, officials said it had grown to 14,000 hectares.

At least 75,000 homes in the Ventura and Los Angeles provinces were under evacuation orders and some structures have already been destroyed, according to officials.

The fire passed US 101 a few miles east of Thousand Oaks – the place where the Wednesday night bar was shot – and moved south to the Pacific coast, toward Malibu Creek State Park and Malibu city, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. County.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for Malibu.

And in a part of Malibu itself – a city with about 12,000 people known for beach households of celebrities and millionaires – a voluntary evacuation advice was issued on Friday morning.

"Please, please, please if you are asked to voluntarily leave the area, please," Ventura County brand Capt. Scott Dettore told CNN affiliated KTLA on Friday morning. "Make sure your stuff is packed and ready, please leave the area."

Pepperdine University closed its Malibu and Calabasas campuses on Friday because of the approaching fire.

In Malibu, journalist Julie Ellerton said that she packed in on Friday morning after staying up all night.

Ellerton, in an e-mail to CNN, said it was odd to go from covering events related to the shooting on Wednesday "to look up at noon and see plumes of smoke."

"My heart is still with those who suffer from the loss of their children, their husbands and their fathers, I can not think that anything matters – packing items seems strange. just seems unreal, "she wrote.

In Hidden Hills, just north of Calabasas, Adrienne Janic left her home on Thursday night to firefighters to use as a command center. Her deck offered a good vantage point to monitor the spread of the fire.

By 1 a.m. (4 a.m. ET), more firefighters arrived when the flames closed on Janic's street.

"While many of my yard and neighbors' walls were on fire, the firemen saved our homes," Janic tweeted just after 2:00 in the morning (5 o'clock in the afternoon). "We are still not out of the woods."

Christy Dawn Little leaves her Oak Park home, northeast of Thousand Oaks, around 11 a.m. (2:00 pm ET).

"I had to work tonight and ran away when I realized how close it was," Little told Little to CNN. "We found a safe hotel … in Los Angeles."

Video of her ride outside the city shows the fire that in the night sky emanates an orange-red glow.

Hill Fire: RV & # 39; s, outbuildings burned

The Hill Fire is the other fire that burns near the site of the mass shooting this week in Thousand Oaks.

The fire started Thursday afternoon and spread quickly to cover about 6000 hectares, fire fighters said. On Friday, part of it was burning in the footprint of a wildfire in 2013, which could slow its spread, said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen.

Residents on social media placed their views on the flames almost on the hills in the Newbury Park area of ​​western Thousand Oaks.

Although no houses or businesses have been lost to the fast-moving blaze, a number of campers and outbuildings have been burned and a firefighter has suffered a minor injury, according to the authorities.

Crying Santa Ana winds control the Woolsey and Hill fires. The Santa Anas are strong, dry winds that push high pressure systems from east to west, from the mountains and desert areas to the Los Angeles area.

Wind gusts up to 77 mph were reported in Los Angeles County on Friday morning.

The wind is expected to weaken Friday afternoon to Saturday. A second round of Santa Ana winds predicts the area Sunday through Tuesday, although it may be weaker than Friday.