Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

California wildfires: Malibu EVACUATED as Woolsey Fire JUMPS motorway

California wildfires: Malibu EVACUATED as Woolsey Fire JUMPS motorway

Thousands of people are now being evacuated in Ventura County due to the Woolsey fire that's raging in California.

No injuries have been reported.

Almost 2,300 fire personnel are battling the blaze.

The fire had crossed U.S. 101 a few miles east of Thousand Oaks - the site of Wednesday night's bar shooting massacre - and was headed south to the Pacific coast, in the direction of Malibu Creek State Park, the city of Malibu and Pepperdine University, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. "Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", he said.

It reached the edge of Chico, a city of 90,000 people Thursday night.

The fire swelled unabated to 8,000 acres over night in Ventura and Los Angeles counties with the Santa Ana winds fanning flames and forcing hundreds of people from their homes. Finally, some flights began at 5:30 the wind died down but within 30 minutes, the wind was picking up again as dawn neared and was expected to be strong until 10 p.m. Friday.

On Thursday, as flames engulfed Paradise, frantic residents racing to safety plunged into the thick smoke that darkened the daytime sky and made driving hard. "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us".

"It was insane, because when we were sitting in traffic people were panicking", she said.

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"I hope people got out".

Ventura County Fire officials say there are 20 to 25 an hour winds.

As a result of the fire jumping the freeway, the City of Malibu was placed under mandatory evacuation orders, an emergency alert stated.

Taft High School and Pierce College are open to people in Los Angeles County.

The fire broke out Thursday northwest of Los Angeles and roared southward, jumping the USA 101 freeway early Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Los Angeles Police Department was placed on a citywide tactical alert early Friday to ensure all resources are available to assist with any evacuation orders and road closures prompted by the Woolsey Fire, according to a statement from the department.

A strike team of five fire engines and a battalion chief was sent at about 4 p.m., said Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Jack Crabtree. At one point, the unrelenting flames burned about 2,000 acres per hour taking down everything - big box stores, homes, and businesses - in its path. She and her husband eventually were able to drive away safely.

While not as big as the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire, which now measures approximately 8,000 acres, is in a much more densely populated area.

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