Nine dead as California fires continue to rage

Satellite Image taken at 3:12 p.m. The blue lake in the center with the white line through it is Lake Tahoe with California's border overlayed in white

Satellite Image taken at 3:12 p.m. The blue lake in the center with the white line through it is Lake Tahoe with California's border overlayed in white

California Acting Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday declared a state of emergency for areas affected by the Woolsey and Hill fires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Meteorologists marvelled at the "gut-wrenching" rate of spread Thursday's fires exhibited.

Evacuations were ordered for the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people, as flames from the blaze were being driven by 56-kilometer-per-hour winds.

About 900 evacuees fleeing the Woolsey fire checked had checked into the evacuation center by 8:30 a.m. Friday, and a second gym would soon open to meet increasing demand, said Rolf Schleicher, vice president of administrative services at the college.

Everyone in Paradise, a community of 27,000 people about 290 kilometres northeast of San Francisco, was ordered to get out.

Calabasas and Malibu are home to numerous celebrities and some have been posting on social media, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

"Just landed back home and had 1 hour to pack up & evacuate our home".

"We've spoken to our pastors, and they're all safe, and as far as they know, so are their congregants", says Bret Allen, district superintendent for the Northern California and Nevada district.

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

The Butte County Sheriff's Office confirmed later Friday that there were four more deaths but did not provide any other details.

NASA The photo taken by NASA on Thursday shows the Camp fire burning through Paradise, California.

"It is critical that residents pay close attention to evacuation orders", the Los Angeles County Fire Department said on Twitter.

Evacuations are now under way, with tens of thousands of people having already been forced to flee their homes, and hot and dry weather conditions are exacerbating the problem.

Fire officials have not determined a cause for the blaze.

Accidents gridlocked routes out of Paradise and residents abandoned their cars and fled on foot carrying children and pets, Reuters quoted local officials as saying.

About 3,300 students and staff members from Paradise's 11 schools were evacuated in buses and employees' cars to a center in Chico, Butte County Schools Superintendent Tim Taylor said.

In video footage posted on line the tower of fire can be seen appearing from behind burnt trees near a long empty road covered in falling ash.

The hospital was totally destroyed, Mike Mangas, a spokesman for operator Dignity Health, told Action News Now. "You could feel it".

All of the above fires are developing so rapidly that there's very little reliable details about them online.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", he also told The Associated Press.

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