Deadly fire leveled a California town in less than a day

Evacuations ordered in Northern California as fast-moving wildfire spreads

Evacuations ordered in Northern California as fast-moving wildfire spreads

The utility company that provides much of California with natural gas and electricity told state regulators Friday that it plans to cooperate with any investigations into the cause of a massive wildfire in the northern part of the state that has killed at least nine people.

Two wildfires have burned tens of thousands of acres since Thursday, and now mass evacuations are underway outside Los Angeles.

One fast-moving wildfire, known as the Camp fire, likely wiped out the entire town of Paradise, where 27,000 people were forced to evacuate.

What's left of a staircase stands amidst a smoldering home as the Camp fire tears through Paradise, north of Sacramento, California.

In Malibu, some 500 miles (800 km) to the south, flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) raced down hillsides and through canyons toward multi-million dollar homes. "So they've been running nonstop since April", she said. "I pray everyone is safe", she said.

"We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road", said police officer Mark Bass, who lives in the hard-hit town of Paradise and works in neighboring Chico.

Rescuers used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out of the way in order to reach a hospital and evacuate patients as the fire engulfed the building, Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said.

County officials have pinpointed the origin of the blaze just south of the city of Simi Valley. Thousands of firefighters are battling the flames.

"There are many hazards in areas where fatalities have been reported", the Butte County Sheriff's Department said in a statement, warning that they expect to find additional victims.

"Not one home will be left standing", he said.

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The responding fire agencies from Ventura and Los Angeles Counties also consulted independent hazardous materials coordinators who agreed with the conclusion that toxic material from the site was unlikely to have been spread due to the fire.

The city of Malibu is under mandatory evacuation orders as the Woolsey fire continues to threaten Ventura County and its surrounding communities in California on Friday.

Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, said the fire in Northern California's Butte County has "destroyed the town".

"Just landed back home and had 1 hour to pack up & evacuate our home".

A California fire official says six major fires are burning around the state, and characterized three of them as "critical".

"I feel very vulnerable posting this but I feel I should", Chatfield wrote on Facebook.

Her husband, the rapper Kanye West, said their family was "safe and close".

Some motorists abandoned their cars and ran for their lives with children and pets in their arms.

He said he evacuated his family and then returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man carrying his bedridden wife to safety.

The region has grappled with serious wildfires in recent years, including the worst in the state's history - the Mendocino fire in 2018. "The message I want to get out is if you can evacuate, you need to evacuate", Honea said.

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