Thousands flee as three California blazes leave trails of destruction

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"It's a mandatory evacuation, what that means is, you don't have to leave, we want you to leave", Ventura County Fire spokesman Rich Macklan told The Independent on November 9.

Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu.

"I was frantic", she told the NY Daily News. Wind gusts could reach 70 miles per hour and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent in Southern California on Friday, creating the conditions for the fire to rapidly spread.

Ventura County Fire Department officials said Thursday that the Hill Fire, which started in the Santa Rosa Valley, could potentially move all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

A type 3 engine with a four-member crew from the Utah County Fire Department left Friday morning for California to help crews fight the highly destructive and fast-moving Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

At least one nursing home and the Feather River Hospital were evacuated and several homes were on fire, according to the Sacramento Bee, and the region is covered with thick, dark smoke.

In Malibu, journalist Julie Ellerton said she was calmly packing Friday morning after staying up all night.

They drove away but got eventually got caught in traffic.

Malibu officials initially said the order applied to the entire city but have now defined an area that is approximately the western two-thirds of the community.

Evacuations on the limited number of roads in Paradise were slowed by accidents, abandoned vehicles, and medical emergencies including child labour.

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At least five people died when an explosive wildfire swept through the Northern California town of Paradise, sheriff's officials said Friday.

In Southern California there are now two fires in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties threatening structures and forcing evacuations.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", CAL FIRE Captain Scott McLean said, according to the Associated Press.

A mandatory evacuation went into effect on Thursday as the fire covered over a football field of ground per second. "They were going off like bombs", said Karen Auday, who escaped to a nearby town. This one is just to the east of that city, part of which was evacuated.

"While a lot of my yard and neighbors' yards burned, the firefighters saved our homes", Janic tweeted just after 2 a.m. (5 a.m. ET) Friday.

Rushing home, she and her husband attempted to flee but soon found themselves trapped with other evacuees, which she caught in harrowing video.

Christy Dawn Little abandoned her Oak Park home, northeast of Thousand Oaks, around 11 p.m. PT.

The strong winds and the dry conditions in the area have led to a rapid expansion of the fire.

The other fire in that area is the Hill Fire, which torched 10,000 acres in six hours on Thursday.

Authorities said preliminary investigations showed the victims were located in cars that were overcome by the fire, known as the Camp Fire.

The Ventura blaze comes the same week a gunman opened fire in a crowded country music bar in the county, killing 12.

The 101 freeway is closed as the both the Hill and Woolsey fires have jumped the freeway near Camarillo as well as in Agoura Hills near Malibu. The area could experience 30 to 50 mile winds through Sunday and are expected to calm Monday, the National Weather Service reports.

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