California wildfires: Incredible escape shows family drive through apocalyptic flames

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In Northern California, flames killed at least five people and "incinerated" the town of Paradise, where a blaze had grown to almost 110 miles and was burning "completely out of control", according to the Associated Press.

The lull Saturday could give firefighters a chance to control the edges of the blazes and to swap fire crews, replacing firefighters who had worked for two days without rest, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. "It was the event we have feared for a long time", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a Friday evening news conference.

Rescuers could be seen removing remains over a period of several hours in Paradise and placing them in a black hearse.

The blaze has incinerated most of the Northern California town of Paradise and killed at least nine people.

From miles around, acrid smoke could be seen in the sky around Paradise, the sun barely visible. The other victims were found near or inside homes that burned.

Locals fled the danger, but police told AFP some farmers returned to check on their cattle. On Friday, the source said, the entire family left in multiple cars to drive back to Oak Park, unaware they were driving directly into a massive firestorm until it was too late.

California Acting Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday declared a state of emergency for areas affected by the Woolsey and Hill fires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

The blaze, known as the Woolsey Fire, is spreading south, has jumped a major highway and is now threatening coastal areas including parts of Malibu.

By Saturday, fire officials said the Hill fire, which is just over 4,500 acres, was 25% contained but the larger Woolsey fire was still surging.


Further north, another huge wildfire destroyed the town of Paradise, leaving nine people dead and 35 missing.

They estimate they will need three weeks to fully contain the blaze.

From north to south, California was engulfed by five identified fires on Saturday.

Wildfires are wreaking havoc on playoff schedules around California, with more than 20 games postponed in the northern portion of the state alone. "We are prepared to evacuate as soon as we get the word", he said.

Evacuations were ordered for all communities south of USA 101, including the entire city of Malibu, where the population of about 13,000 includes many celebrities.

Some insurers are also choosing to stop renewing coverage for homes that aren't even in high-risk areas, but are near potentially flammable wildlife, like a brush, she added.

"We heard this was coming so we set up the sprinklers and we hosed the whole house down", said Malibu resident Patrick Henry. "I pray everyone is safe", she wrote. Actor Martin Sheen told a local news reporter that he and his wife would probably sleep in their vehicle Friday night.

Last month, after Trump rekindled his criticism of California's wildfire prevention steps, a spokesman for Brown said Trump's comments lacked credibility. Four people were found dead in vehicles that were overcome by flames and and one body was discovered near the vehicles.

Thousands of residents just outside Los Angeles have been ordered to evacuate immediately as a massive wildfire advances, fanned by strong winds. Three more were found outside a residence, and one inside a house.

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