California wildfires leave several dead, force thousands to flee

The overall death toll from the outbreak of fires at both ends of the state stood at 25 Sunday and appeared likely to rise.

All told, more than 8,000 firefighters battled three large wildfires burning across almost 1,040 square kilometres in northern and Southern California, with out-of-state crews continuing to arrive and gusty, blowtorch winds making their return.

The blaze, whose cause remains under investigation, swept through the foothill town of Paradise, laying waste to the community of 27,000, reported The Sacramento Bee.

In a recent press release, the Butte County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the number of fatalities reported had grown from 9 to 23 with over half of the victims were found in the city of Paradise.

'We never heard from them again, ' Ms Lee said. Authorities said they have reports of 110 people still missing in the area affected by the blaze.

Rampant wildfires in California have prompted the Department of Forestry and Fire Management of Arizona to deploy 144 firefighters and 42 engines to help contain the blazes.

"We knew Paradise was a prime target for forest fire over the years", he said.

Two other major wildfires are burning in southern California. The severely burned bodies were discovered in a long residential driveway in celebrity-studded Malibu, where those forced out of homes included Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Guillermo del Toro and Martin Sheen.

The flames also stretched into the suburb of Thousand Oaks, a city of 130,000 people that just a few days ago saw 12 people killed in a mass shooting at a country music bar. But firefighters braced for another round of Santa Ana winds, the powerful, dry gusts that blow out of the interior toward the coast.

At the briefing, fire commanders described the fire jumping the Feather River at one point Saturday night on the eastern edge of the fire line, and said crews had to protect homes in a rural area northeast of Oroville.

Actor Gerard Butler, one of the many celebrities who had to evacuate, shared a photo of his home, which was destroyed by the Woolsey Fire in southern California that started on Thursday.

The Woolsey blaze also destroyed the home of Dr Strange director Scott Derrickson and the historic Paramount Ranch where HBO's Westworld and many other shows have been filmed. He did not mention California's drought conditions.

The bulletins from the northern part of the state were even worse.

Wildfires burned out of control on Friday across California, killing at least nine people in a mountain town and forcing residents to flee the upscale beach community of Malibu in the face of a monster fire storm.

Wearing masks because the air was still heavy with smoke, people sidestepped metal that had melted off of cars or Jet-Skis as they surveyed their ravaged neighbourhoods. On Friday, the source said, the entire family left in multiple cars to drive back to Oak Park, unaware they were driving directly into a massive firestorm until it was too late. Some 250,000 homes are under evacuation orders across the region. The safe was punctured with bullet holes from guns inside that went off in the scorching heat.

But he did say that four people were found inside a vehicle in the Paradise area, while another was found nearby outside the vehicle.

  • Marlene Weaver