California wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate, claim lives

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Hundreds of miles south, authorities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have ordered the evacuation of 75,000 homes, as a wildfire bears down on the beach town of Malibu.

Malibu has been ordered to evacuate, as well as Oak Park, Thousand Oaks and other areas in the Highway 101 vicinity.

Pimlott said six major fires are now burning in California, with three (Camp, Woolsey and Hill) designated "critical".

Dubbed the "Hill Fire", the blaze quickly spread to cover between 8,000 and 10,000 acres on Thursday, according to Ventura County Fire Department officials.

The swift-moving Camp Fire, raging about 80 miles north of Sacramento, consumed Paradise, and moved Friday morning into the eastern side of Chico, a city with a population of around 90,000.

The blaze that started Thursday morning east of Paradise and decimated the town also spread to the west. It was burning in the same area impacted by the 2013 Springs Fire where there was "sparse fuel", fire officials said Friday.

Cal Fire said the fire, only 5 percent contained, had consumed 70,000 acres.

"We are literally in a statewide Red Flag Warning", Ghilarducci said. Staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, which is located in the park, were preparing animals to be evacuated.

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"In the past few years, just the way fires have moved, firefighters have had to help with evacuations before they can go back in to put out the fire", Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Several evacuation sites were issuing protective masks for citizens, Ventura County Emergency Services said. It's near Hill Canyon Road and Santa Rosa Road in the Santa Rosa Valley.

The Ventura County Fire Department reports structures, outbuildings, and vehicles have been damaged and destroyed. "They're adults now, but at that point, you just see them as little kids and you want protect them".

The Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit deployed Copter 208 to do nighttime water drops on the fire.

The Woolsey blaze shut down 101 Freeway after causing the evacuations of 75,000 homes in parts of Thousands Oaks in northwest Los Angeles, the site of a shooting massacre by a former United States marine this week. The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted that the fire is headed to the ocean, punctuating the message with the declaration: "Imminent threat!"

Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath said the front of the fire was still burning toward the coast and had grown rapidly overnight.

The blaze, known as the Woolsey Fire, is spreading south, has jumped a major highway and is now threatening coastal areas including parts of Malibu.