Entire city of Malibu evacuated as fires race through Southern California, jump 101 Freeway
Ventura County Fire Department(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.) — Two fast-moving wildfires that exploded in the hills of Southern California are forcing thousands of evacuations, including the entire city of Malibu and a sprawling naval base.
One of the blazes, the Woolsey Fire, grew to more than 10,000 acres overnight as it spread south from Simi Valley in Ventura County to Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County, where the flames jumped the 101 Freeway and continued burning toward the Malibu area.
About 148,000 residents in Ventura and Los Angeles counties have evacuated or in process of evacuating, including a mandatory evacuation for all of Malibu, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
Among the celebrity homes reportedly damaged — if not destroyed — was the home of Caitlyn Jenner, who posted an Instagram video reporting that she was in a safe house, but wasn’t sure what has become of her home.
Other celebrities in southern California who have reported on social media that they were evacuated from their homes due to the fast-moving fires include Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, her sister Kourtney Kardashian and Mark Hammill.
The freeway was closed in both directions near the Liberty Canyon Road exit due to “very active fire conditions,” authorities said.
The Woolsey Fire was zero percent contained as of Friday morning, though hundreds of firefighters were working to quell the flames. So far, there have been no fire-related fatalities or severe injuries, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
The inferno ignited Thursday afternoon in Simi Valley, northeast of Thousand Oaks, not far from where a mass shooting claimed at least 12 lives late Wednesday night.
Authorities have described the blaze as a very dangerous, wind-driven fire. Wind gusts could reach 70 mph and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent in Southern California on Friday, creating the conditions for the fire to rapidly spread.
The second blaze, the Hill Fire, ignited around the same time Thursday in the Santa Rosa Valley area of Ventura County, northwest of Thousand Oaks, and has since grown to 6,100 acres. Several areas were under mandatory evacuation orders, including the Naval Base Ventura County’s facility in Point Mugu, located near Oxnard, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
The fire was zero percent contained as of Friday morning, authorities said the flames could spread all the way to Pacific Ocean.
The governor-elect of California, Gavin Newsom, on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for Ventura and Los Angeles counties due to the Woolsey and Hill fires.
Meanwhile, a wildfire laid waste to entire neighborhoods in Northern California overnight.
At least five people were found dead Thursday in vehicles that had been engulfed by flames in the devastated town of Paradise, officials said.
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