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Mismanagement of forests to blame for California fires

Mismanagement of forests to blame for California fires

The Camp Fire has killed at least five people and destroyed 2,000 buildings in the Northern California city of Paradise.

In all, three major fires are burning across the state. Over the course of the day, evacuation orders were issued in Paradise, Concow, and Pulga, towns about 200 miles north of San Francisco.

The fire chief said it could be days before authorities knows if there have been any fatalities. As many as 1,385 people are in shelters.

"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.

Unbeknownst to residents, the Woolsey Fire had just ignited a short drive away.

The fire broke out near Thousand Oaks, an area about 64km north-west of downtown Los Angeles where an attacker killed 12 people on Wednesday, prompting the evacuation of 75,000 homes. Another blaze, the Hill Fire, started at about the same time, also near Thousand Oaks.

At midday on Friday local time, it covered about 5665 hectares.

Bass evacuated his family from Paradise and returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man trying to carry his bedridden wife to safety.

Among those forced to flee were celebrities including Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, who said on Twitter that flames had damaged the home she shares in nearby Calabasas with Kanye West.

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"Just landed back home and had one hour to pack up and evacuate our home. I pray everyone is safe", she wrote.

Singer Cher, who has had a house in Malibu since 1972, also wrote: "I'm anxious about my house, but there is nothing I can do".

Where is the Camp Fire?

It began early Thursday morning, and and grew so rapidly that it reached some 18,000 acres (7,200 hectares) as of Thursday afternoon. More than 6,700 homes and businesses were destroyed and residents fled for their lives. The flames moved so fast that some had to abandon their cars and escape the town on foot.

Northern California officials say investigators found five people dead in vehicles that were torched by the flames of a ferocious wildfire.

Dozens of other people were reported missing.

"This event was the worst-case scenario", he said.

"It was absolutely dark", said resident Mike Molloy, who said he made a split decision based on the wind to leave Thursday morning, packing only the minimum and joining a sea of other vehicles.

"The town is devastated, everything is destroyed", said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott Maclean. There are booms and creaks from burning trees and telegraph poles.

A fire official said the blaze in northern California almost quadrupled in size overnight. Millions of Californians remain under a "red flag" warning for conditions both ripe for fires and unhealthy air conditions. The message I want to get out is: "If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate".


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