California wildfires kill 9; ravage celebrity homes

Nov 11, 2018, 09:20 IST | Agencies

Touted to be one of the most destructive blazes in state history, the wildfires might wreak more havoc, say experts; More than 1,50,000 evacuated

California wildfires kill 9; ravage celebrity homes
A firefighter battles flames at a complex in Paradise, north of Sacremento, California. Pic/AFP

Two fast-moving wildfires that exploded in the Southern California hills have claimed nine lives and forced thousands to flee their homes, including the entire city of Malibu.

Fanned by ferocious Santa Ana winds and fuelled by dry tinder, the fires thus far have proved to be unstoppable, operating at flash-flood velocity. The big wildfire in Southern California, known as the Woolsey Fire, quadrupled in size by Friday evening, covering more than 22 square miles, with no containment.

It easily jumped eight-lane Highway 101 and rambled over the Santa Monica Mountains to posh Malibu, where it torched homes and cars. The wildfire then finally ran into its only match so far: the Pacific Ocean. "The magnitude of destruction we have seen is really unbelievable and heartbreaking and our hearts go to everybody who has been affected by this," said Mark Ghilarducci, the director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. The California fire season normally begins in late spring and lasts through summer.

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