Monday, 10 December, 2018

Motorists die as they flee California wildfires

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through the area Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire
Jeannette Daniel | 10 November, 2018, 13:26

Hospital workers and first responders evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital as the Camp Fire moves through the area on November 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. In Northern California, a blaze visible by satellite consumed the town of Paradise on Thursday and had burned almost 110 square miles by Friday morning. The fires started on Thursday near the Californian city of Pulga. "These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday".

Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom has requested an emergency presidential disaster declaration from Trump to speed the flow of federal aid to victims.

Among the towns under evacuation orders is Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people in a rampage on Wednesday.

"If you are ready to go, go", Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Chief John Benedict told those in evacuations areas.

Rural areas fared little better.

"The whole town is burning", Bob Van Camp, a Paradise resident who escaped on his motorbike, told local TV channel Action News Now.

He estimated that a couple of thousand structures were destroyed in the town about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

'It's devastating. It's like "welcome to hell,"' resident Cynthia Ball said about the dual disasters while she was outside the teenage centre serving as a shelter for evacuees. The Tubbs Fire, which destroyed 5,636 structures in Napa and Sonoma counties in October 2017, is listed by Cal Fire as the most destructive in state history.

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. Its rapid growth and early-morning arrival means that residents didn't have much time to leave or firefighters time to prepare, leaving them to play a game of catch-up against an extremely active fire.

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Evacuation center locations, road closure and school closure information for the fires can be found on the Ventura County emergency page here. Some crashed and others left their vehicles by the roadside.

Maj. Gen. David Baldwin says other military personnel are studying satellite imagery to assess the scope of the damage and map the fire.

A nurse called Rita Miller at about 7 a.m. Thursday, telling her she had to get her disabled mother, who lives a few blocks away, and flee Paradise immediately. She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety, she said. She instantly found herself stuck in gridlock.

Many abandoned their cars and trucks on the side of the road.

"This is what happens when people aren't prepared", Gondola said as he helped customers fill red gas cans. Then she reconsidered, thinking: "I'm really scared. I can't see, and maybe I should humble myself and get in this woman's vehicle". It took three hours to travel the 14 miles.

The remains of five of the victims were discovered in or near burned out cars, three outside residences and one inside a home, Honea said. And we love you for that.

"They had us in like a caravan", Napoli said. They do have a auto, but they both are older and can be confused at times'.

A trio of rapidly expanding wildfires are burning in California, marking the latest in a string of harrowing climate-related disasters in America. Erica Phillipson, from Saddle Peak near Topanga Canyon, drove behind her husband, whose auto was filled with suitcases and a bodyboard.

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