Five Die Trying to Escape Wildfire That Destroyed Northern California Town

Five Die Trying to Escape Wildfire That Destroyed Northern California Town
Woolsey Fire burns homes is it exceeds 10,000 acres, continues to grow at Los Angeles-Ventura County border
SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA) — A fast-spreading brush fire that broke out near Simi Valley Thursday afternoon has jumped to the south side of the 101 Freeway and was threatening Malibu early Friday morning as it tore through Thousand Oaks, prompting authorities to order the evacuation of at least 75,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

It’s one of two wildfires burning in the region, the other being the 6,000-acre Hill Fire burning in Newbury Park. No injuries have been reported in either fire.

These statewide weather conditions are predicted to remain in California for several days, Newsom said in a letter to the president and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He went on to say, These fires will continue to grow and pose further threat to the health and safety of residents throughout California.

The Woolsey Fire was zero percent contained as of late Friday morning and had scorched at least 14,000 acres just before noon. Just after 5 a.m., the blaze jumped the southside of the 101 Freeway at Chesebro Road near Calabasas. In response, California Highway Patrol shut down a four-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway from Las Virgenes Road to Kanan Road.

My House has been evacuated due to nearby fires in Thousand Oaks. (The pigs & dogs are fine, thank you) Please send your prayers to the people of Thousand Oaks and the victims of the shooting that are now having to evacuate their homes and neighborhoods. Then send them some cash.

“Early this morning, as the fire transitioned through Agoura Hills, the fire jumped the 101 Freeway right around Liberty Canyon, mid-slope, caught wind, and became quickly established at where we were at today,” L.A. County Deputy Fire Chief David Richardson told reporters at a morning news conference.

Two Kardashians took to Instagram to document their evacuation. Kim shared in a Story that she had to leave pretty quickly, and she thanked the fire department, writing in a later Story, Thank you for all that you do for us!!!

The fire was burning south of Mulholland Highway. A large swatch of the city of Malibu was under an unprecedented mandatory evacuation order Friday morning. That applied to residents south of the 101 Freeway from the Ventura County line, east to Las Virgenes Road and then south all the way to the Pacific Coast Highway. The area east of Malibu Canyon was under a voluntary evacuation order.

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted Thursday night that she had to leave her Bell Canyon home due to the fire, adding that she didnt take much with her. Her husband was apparently in New York at the time.

“These winds due have the potential to push this fire all the way to Malibu… If you live in Malibu, I would get out,” CBS2 Meteorologist Danielle Gersh said.

Cal Fire told CNN multiple injuries have been reported by both residents and firefighters. More than 2,200 firefighters were working to stop the flames on Thursday night.

Residents were advised to use Pacific Coast Highway to evacuate, and to avoid using canyon roads. However, the northbound PCH was shut down at Topanga Canyon Boulevard as of 11:30 a.m., and there was a 20-mile backup for southbound drivers. Complicating matters were the traffic signals that were knocked out of service. Drivers were being advised to use the 405 Freeway up to the 118 Freeway in order to get around the backup.

California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and requested federal funds to fight the fires on Thursday while Gov. Jerry Brown was out of the state.

Santa Ana Winds Could Push Hill Fire All the Way to the Pacific Ocean, Ventura County Fire Official Says

Evacuations were also issued north of the 101 Freeway from Valley Vista to Reyes Adobe in the areas of Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Westlake Village.

“We have over 300 Los Angeles County firefighters here, and as mentioned collectively, that’s going to grow, as we continue to battle this fire, as it is headed to the Pacific Ocean,” Richardson said.

On Friday, the Los Angeles County Fire public information officer tweeted saying the "Fire has jumped the 101 fwy near Chesebro and is headed to Ocean."

Fanned by Strong Winds, Woolsey Fire Spreads Toward Malibu

There are hundreds of firefighters battling the blaze, with hundreds more headed in to help, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters Friday.

Woolsey Fire: 14,000 acres burned; thousands forced to evacuate

“We know we have a number of structures that were lost during the firefight overnight,” Lorenzen said.

This picture, tweeted by the Los Angeles County publc information officer, shows the Woolsey Fire in Ventura County. 

Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Scott Dettorre earlier told CBS2 that “dozens of homes” had been damaged or destroyed, but there was no exact count.

The tweet also said, "Imminent threat! Malibu lakes residents must leave area immediately."

“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 CBS2 early Friday. But people know they can’t get back in once they do leave. We want people to leave early, when firefighters ask you to, because firefighting equipment needs to come in and do their work. And if you leave early, it helps us tremendously.”

The fires burned in a community that was already reeling from a mass shooting that left 12 victims dead Wednesday night at a Thousand Oaks bar. The Thousand Oaks Teen Center was a family unification center Thursday, a place where families anxiously waited for updates on loved ones who were at the Borderline Bar. On Friday, the center was an evacuation center for people fleeing the fire. 

CBS2 reporter Tom Wait described conditions on the ground in Oak Park as “apocalyptic,” as ember and ash rained down on the streets below.

The Woolsey Fire broke out about 2:25 p.m. Thursday, pushed by strong Santa Ana winds which prevented fire commanders from ordering aerial assaults in the early morning hours. Finally, some flights began at 5:30 a.m. as 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 Friday evening.

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation Friday for L.A. and Ventura counties due to both the .

Through Nov. 4, Cal Fire has reported about 5,600 fires that burned more than 621,700 acres. During that same period last year, the agency reported 5,800 fire that burned 316,600 acres. Over the last five years, California has averaged 5,293 fires that burned 231,400 acres during that interval.

Gridlock, confusion on Pacific Coast Highway as thousands flee Woodley fire as it approaches Malibu – Los Ange

About 2:30 a.m., mandatory evacuation orders that had been issued in the city of Los Angeles near West Hills and Hidden Hills were changed from mandatory to voluntary, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The orders affected residents north of the 101 Freeway, south of Bell Canyon Road, west of Valley Circle Boulevard and east of the Los Angeles city limit. Evacuation orders in the Hidden Hills area of Los Angeles County were also downgraded to voluntary.

About 12:30 a.m., all residents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties north of the Ventura 101 Freeway, south of Bell Canyon Road, west of Valley Circle Boulevard and east of Erbes Road, as well as north of Kanan Road, west of Lindero Canyon to Erbes Road extending north to Sunset Hills Boulevard were told to evacuate, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. That includes areas of Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Westlake Village, all in L.A. County.

“The winds havent died down, and thats unfortunate,” said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola. “Winds are gusting anywhere between 40 to 50 mph, strong enough to carry theses embers. We do expect these winds to die down, but not completely go away.”

Meanwhile, L.A. County Fire Battalion Chief Trey Espy confirmed 15 to 20 homes were impacted in the area of Kellwood Court and Churchwood Drive in Oak Park, and additional homes were impacted in nearby areas. Espy said firefighters were creating “water curtains” between the homes and would remain on-scene until the threat was contained.

The Woolsey Fire broke out about 2:25 p.m. Thursday in Ventura County west of Chatsworth, pushed by strong Santa Ana winds. Early Friday, the whipping winds prevented fire commanders from ordering aerial assaults in the early morning hours, but some flights began at 5:30 a.m. as the wind died down. But winds quickly began picking up again as dawn broke. High winds were expected to continue until 10 p.m., when a red flag warning of heightened wildfire conditions is scheduled to expire.

“They will continue to save homes and do whatever they can until the work is done,” L.A. County Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Trey Espy told CBS2.

The fire prompted the closure of all schools in the Las Virgenes Unified School District in Calabasas, as well as Viewpoint School, Montessori of Calabasas, Montessori of Calabasas Too and Muse School. Also shut down were the schools of the Conejo Valley School District, headquartered in Thousand Oaks, and the Los Angeles Unified School District's Topanga Elementary Charter School.

The Los Angeles Police Department was placed on a citywide tactical alert about 12:45 a.m. to ensure all resources are available to assist with any evacuation orders and road closures prompted by the Woolsey Fire, according to a department statement.

Hwy 101 closed in Ventura County after wildfire jumps highway

“If you’re in an affected area and have been ordered to evacuate, evacuate,” the statement said.

By early Friday morning, there were no reported injuries to civilians or firefighters, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” one Oak Park resident told CBS2, explaining he decided to stay behind and watch over his neighbors’ homes in the area of Kellwood Ct. and Churchwood Dr. and had the utmost faith in firefighters.

The Woolsey Fire exploded to 14,000 acres overnight, driven by 50- to 60-mph winds that helped propel the flames southward across the 101 Freeway in the Liberty Canyon area early Friday. Although an unknown number of structures have been destroyed, there were no reports of any injuries to firefighters or residents as of mid-morning Friday.

“Hopefully they’re able to get it under control and save this neighborhood,” he said.

“It was coming like a freight train,” he said, praising firefighters. “There’s not a lot of buffer here but these guys are just awesome.”

Thousand Oaks was also the scene of a mass shooting late Wednesday at a nightclub where 11 civilians and a sheriff’s sergeant were killed. The suspected gunman, a Marine Corps veteran, killed himself.

Those looking for information on family or friends can call the Ventura County Joint Information Hotline at 805-465-6650.

What started the Woolsey & Hill fires? No news report is giving any explanation of how these tragic fires began. Tons of news reporting on ‘the wind’, low humidity and shortage of man power to fight so many areas of fire. Please, someone report what on earth started it. Was a lightening storm involved? Was it a careless person? A camp fire? Blame doesn’t remedy the current conditions, but public information should include the reason for this horrible event. People are losing their homes and I am certain they want to know WHY.

California has legalized the spread of HIV..they are paying the price of being evil. I do pray that the God fearing people are not harmed. those who support the spreading of diseases have cast their destiny.


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