Calif. wildfires: At least 9 dead, 6,700 structures lost

California wildfire leaves town in ruins, thousands flee

A Northern California fire has become the most destructive in the state's modern history, killing at least nine people and wiping out much of an entire town.

Three-quarters of the city of 130,000 was under evacuation orders - and that likely included people affected by the shooting, Mayor Andy Fox said.

The Camp Fire has destroyed 6,453 homes and 260 commercial buildings in the area around Paradise, making it the most destructive to buildings in state history, surpassing the Tubbs Fire, which destroyed 5,636 structures in Napa and Sonoma counties a year ago.

A burning sign is seen outside Paradise Skilled Nursing home during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018. (PG&E), the utility company that provides much of the state with natural gas and electricity, told state regulators Friday that it would cooperate with investigators into the cause of wildfire - dubbed the Camp Fire - in the northern part of the state.

In Malibu, some 500 miles (800 km) to the south, flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) raced down hillsides and through canyons toward multi-million dollar homes.

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Thousands of residents took to the Pacific Coast Highway to head south or took refuge on beaches, along with their horses and other pets.

A row of burned vehicles are seen on Skyway during the Camp Fire in Paradise.

Sheriff's officials said earlier that five people were found dead in vehicles that were torched by flames in the same area in the town of Paradise. "God is good. I'm just praying everyone is safe", tweeted Kim Kardashian West.

Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro also confirmed he had been evacuated and feared for his home and his extensive movie memorabilia collection, while former EastEnders star Patsy Palmer, who now lives near Los Angeles, was also forced to leave her home.

The larger of the two southern blazes, the Woolsey Fire, has scorched as least 35,000 acres north of Los Angeles since igniting near Rocketdyne at around 2pm local time Thursday, quickly spreading southwest toward Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks.

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The lull Saturday could give firefighters a chance to control the edges of the blazes and to swap fire crews, replacing firefighters who had worked for two days without rest, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

On Friday, the flames jumped Highway 101 and headed into coastal areas.

A group of Cal Fire firefighters monitor ambers from a toppled wall while battling the Camp Fire in Paradise on Friday.

The Hill fire was 25 percent contained as of Saturday morning, but had grown to 4,500 acres.

About 3,500 people were under mandatory evacuation, Spelman said.

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