Last updated on November 9, 2018, at 2:00 PM PST
Overnight, three rapid-moving fires spreading across California have destroyed thousands of structures and forced the evacuation of an estimated 157,000 people. Forecasts predict continued windy and dry conditions through the weekend, particularly in the northern part of the state, paired with low humidity, a lack of precipitation, and dry vegetation, which are expected to make fire danger worse in some of California’s most populated areas.
In the northern part of the state, at least five people have been found dead in scorched cars after having tried to flee the disastrous Camp Fire burning about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the state capitol. A list compiled by a local news affiliate reports a growing number of missing people after nearly the entire town of Paradise, population roughly 30,000, has been destroyed. Burning at a rate of roughly 80 football fields per minute, county officials have declared a State of Emergency as CalFire reports some 70,000 acres have burned with just 5 percent of the fire contained. Additionally, at least 2,000 structures have been destroyed, while 15,000 remain threatened, filling shelters and closing roads across the area. Thousands of firefighters are battling the flames.
Toxic smoke is reported as far as 240 kilometers (150 miles) away, shrouding the San Francisco Bay Area and our office located there. Millions of Californians remain under a “red flag” warning for conditions both ripe for fires and unhealthy air conditions.
Meanwhile, two wildfires burning near Los Angeles have forced thousands more to evacuate, including the entire city of Malibu.
Burning at more than 10,000 acres, Woolsey Fire jumped a major highway overnight and remains 0 percent contained. No fire-related injuries or fatalities have been reported as of yet, but winds expected to reach 112 kilometers per hour (70 mph) could help the fire continue to spread. The nearby Hill Fire ignited around the same time and has since grown to 6,100 acres. Also at 0 percent contained, authorities say flames could continue to blaze all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Given the fires’ rapid movement and volatile conditions, The Los Angeles Times is maintaining a live feed with the most current data available. Dozens of other news publications have taken to Twitter to show the harrowing conditions residents are seeing as they flee.
Apocalypse-like conditions are apparent, with black smoke and flames burning on either side of roads, while cars and entire neighborhoods are burning to the ground.
Nearly the entire town of Paradise was destroyed in the Camp Fire.
Toxic smoke and hazardous air quality conditions are impacting much of the state, including our San Francisco Office.
Southern California is reeling from the impact of two fires burning near some of the country’s most populated cities.