Wildfire destroys entire town as massive blazes tear through California

Ventura County Fire

Later on Friday morning around 8 a.m. PT, a small brush fire erupted near the Los Angeles Zoo in the Griffith Park area, covering between two and three acres, according to KABC.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweets that the fire is headed to the ocean, punctuating the message with the declaration: "Imminent threat!"

Cal Fire Captain - John Gaddie - said the town of just 27,000 was "destroyed" by the flames. It has burned about 6,100 acres as of Friday morning.

It reached the edge of Chico, a city of 90,000 people Thursday night.

The flames are now threatening coastal areas further south, fire officials said.

The two blazes are among 16 now active fires in California.

Raging wildfires across California have forced 157,000 people from their homes, and have led to at least one death in the north of the state, officials say.

The fast-moving fire jumped the 101 Freeway at Chesebro Road at about 5:15 a.m. and is established on the south side of freeway, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Flames from Camp Fire were being powered by 35-mile-per hour winds, fire officials said as the blaze earlier ripped through Paradise, about 20 miles east of Chico.

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As a result of the fire jumping the freeway, the City of Malibu was placed under mandatory evacuation orders, an emergency alert stated.

Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said a couple of thousand structures were destroyed in the town about 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.

The Woolsey fire started on Thursday afternoon south of the city of Simi Valley, Ventura County officials said.

Winds are expected to die down Friday morning and firefighters said that should help for now, but they are expected to pick back up again on Sunday.

Responders are still assessing how many structures were lost, but the priority Friday was life safety and making sure people get evacauted from threatened areas, he said.

The Thousand Oaks Teen Center had to be used as an evacuation site overnight for people fleeing the blazes - after being used Thursday as a family reunification center, where frantic parents waited for news of their children in the wake of the massacre at Borderline Bar & Grill.

An 10,000 acre plus brush fire known as the Hill Fire is burning out of control on the Conejo Grade, north of Newbury Park. By Thursday evening, it had scorched up to 7,000 acres and sent residents of more than 1,200 homes fleeing, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Just landed back home and had one hour to pack up and evacuate our home".

A lot of the resources assigned to the Hill Fire were transferred to the Woolsey Fire, which became the priority for firefighting efforts with heavy air support and hundreds of personnel working Friday. "I pray everyone is safe", she wrote.

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