California fires: Bushfires rage as stars flee

 news.com.au  11/10/2018 5:11:22 PM  2

SHOCKING footage has captured a family’s desperate flee to safety after they drove through the middle of the California bushfires to escape the raging inferno.

California resident Brynn Parrott Chatfield filmed the moment her family made it through the fires in the town of Paradise, as flames and smoke surround the family’s car.

The entire town of Paradise was destroyed in the fires.

Chatfield is heard praying as the car drives through the inferno before they safely emerged through the other side.

It comes as firefighters continued to battle raging blazes that have left at least nine people dead and thousands of homes destroyed — and there was little hope of containing the flames anytime soon.

More than 250,000 people have been ordered to evacuate a wide area near the state capital Sacramento and, in southern California, the Hollywood resort town of Malibu.

So far, all nine fatalities were reported in the town of Paradise, in Butte County, where more than 6,700 buildings — most of them residences — have been consumed by the late-season inferno, which is now California’s most destructive fire on record.

“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 Office of Emergency Services.

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to provide assistance to the hardest-hit areas in the fire-prone state.

The fast-moving blaze in the north, which authorities have named the “Camp Fire,” broke out early on Thursday.

Fanned by strong winds, it has so far scorched 40,500 hectares and is 20 per cent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Saturday. So far, three of the more than 3200 firefighters deployed have been injured.

They estimate they will need three weeks to fully contain the blaze. Butte County Sheriff Korey Honea said four people were found dead inside a car in the Paradise area, while another was found nearby. Three more were found outside a residence, and one inside a house. Dozens of other people were reported missing.

Local power authorities have told state officials an outage occurred near the spot where the fire erupted, The Sacramento Bee reported, but there is still no official cause of the Camp blaze.

MALIBU MANSIONS IN FLAMES

In southern California, more wildfires burned including one just north of Los Angeles and another in Ventura County near Thousand Oaks, where an ex-Marine shot dead 12 people in a country music bar on Wednesday.

Emergency services said some 200,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders, including the entire city of Malibu.

The “Woolsey Fire” had consumed around 35,000 acres and was so far not contained, the Ventura County Fire Department said, adding that evacuation orders were issued for some 88,000 homes in the county and neighbouring Los Angeles County.

“We heard this was coming so we set up the sprinklers and we hosed the whole house down,” said Malibu resident Patrick Henry. “We pretty much had enough time to get the dogs in the trunk.”

Malibu is one of the most in-demand locations in California for stars seeking privacy and luxury.

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who lives just north of coastal Malibu in Hidden Hills, revealed she was forced to flee her home.

“I heard the flames have hit our property at our home in Hidden Hills but now are more contained and have stopped at the moment,” she said on Twitter. “I just pray the winds are in our favour.”

Caitlyn Jenner’s Malibu home has also reportedly been destroyed in the California fires.

The Olympic gold medallist later posted a clip to Instagram with her friend Sophia Hutchins, saying they were both safe.

“We’re safe but we don’t know if the house made it or not,” Jenner said. “It’s still up in the air, so anyway, we’re safe and sound.”

“We’re having a vodka, it’s been a hell of a morning,” Hutchins added.

Actor Martin Sheen, briefly reported missing by his actor son Charlie, was also forced to evacuate.

“We’re fine, we’re at Zuma Beach and we’re probably going to sleep in the car tonight,” Martin Sheen told Fox News 11, adding that it was the worst fire he had seen in 48 years of living in Malibu.

The fires reached Paramount Ranch, destroying the Western Town sets used for hundreds of productions including HBO’S sci-fi western Westworld, officials and the network said.

Director Guillermo del Toro tweeted that Bleak House, his museum of horror movie memorabilia, was also in the path of the flames.

Caitlyn Jenner’s hilltop Malibu home has also reportedly been destroyed.

The Olympic gold medallist posted a clip to Instagram with her friend Sophia Hutchins, saying they were both safe.

“We’re safe but we don’t know if the house made it or not,” Jenner said. “Don’t know if the house made it or not, it’s still up in the air, so anyway we’re safe and sound, the dogs, which are in the backyard running around.”

“We’re having a vodka, it’s been a hell of a morning,” Hutchins added.

Iggy Azalea, Scott Baio, Will Smith, Lady Gaga, Cher, Denise Richards, Melissa Etheridge and Guillermo del Toro are among numerous celebrities forced to evacuate their homes, in some cases hurriedly trying to arrange transport for their horses.

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