California wildfires: Malibu homes burn as death toll climbs to nine

By Mutala Yakubu
Aerial footage shows fires racing up hillsides in Malibu towards abandoned homes
Aerial footage shows fires racing up hillsides in Malibu towards abandoned homes

A raging wildfire in southern California has swept into the beach resort of Malibu - home to many Hollywood stars - leaving buildings burning and sending residents fleeing.


Further north, another huge wildfire destroyed the town of Paradise, leaving nine people dead and 35 missing.

In all, three major fires are burning across the state.

Among the towns under evacuation orders is Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people in a rampage on Wednesday.
Authorities say the Camp Fire in the north and the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fire in the south are being fanned by strong winds.

More than 250,000 people have been evacuated across the areas.

"The magnitude of the destruction of the fire is unbelievable and heartbreaking," said Mark Ghilarducci, of the California governor's office.

Where is the Woolsey Fire?

The blaze started on Thursday near Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles (64km) north-west of central Los Angeles. Another blaze, the Hill Fire, started at about the same time, also near Thousand Oaks.
On Friday, the flames jumped Highway 101 and headed into coastal areas. The fire now covers an area of about 35,000 acres (14,150 hectares).

"Fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu," town officials said in a statement.

"All residents must evacuate immediately."

Malibu and nearby Calabasas are home to many celebrities and some have been posting on social media.
On Instagram, reality TV star Kim Kardashian urged people to "pray for Calabasas".

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

Her husband, the rapper Kanye West, said their family was "safe".

The singer Cher, who is performing in Las Vegas, tweeted that she was worried about her Malibu home.

The singer Lady Gaga said she had evacuated her home in Malibu, posting a video on Instagram that showed dark smoke billowing overhead.

Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro tweeted that he had evacuated, leaving behind his "Bleak House" museum collection of fantasy and horror memorabilia.

The fire has also reportedly destroyed one of the sets for the TV series Westworld.

Source: bbc