Five dead in California wildfire as second blaze forces Malibu evacuation

Evacuations ordered in Northern California as fast-moving wildfire spreads

A massive plume of smoke from the Camp Fire wafts over the Sacramento Valley as seen from Chico

Paradise, located almost 145 kilometers north of Sacramento, was home to more than 26,000 residents, according to its website.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, authorities said.

Pimlott said 40 miles per hour wind started at the outset of the Camp Fire early Thursday.

A "firenado" whirl, also commonly known as a fire devil, fire tornado, fire swirl, or a fire twister, is a whirlwind induced by a fire and often made up of flame from a brush fire.

To illustrate the extent of "the dry", the town of Paradise, which has been destroyed, received a little more than 2cm of rain since May 1.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean told KTVU on Friday.

Thousands of people in California have had to flee ahead of a wildfire that has consumed thousands of hectares of land and continues to grow, courtesy of strong winds.

However, at this time it can't be determined if the building were destroyed or only partially damaged - though fire officials are saying the city was decimated by the flames.

Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said a "very significant, risky weather pattern" would continue through the end of the weekend.

So far, the fire's burned more than 70,000 acres, and new evacuations were ordered today. "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us". After flames ripped through the town Thursday, Paradise (population 27,000) has been declared nearly a complete loss.

Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage and had minutes to evacuate.

That prompted residents to abandon their vehicles and run from the flames, carrying children and pets, officials said. "They were abandoned because traffic was so bad, backed up for hours".

About 20 of the same deputies who were helping to find and rescue people lost their own homes, Sheriff Kory Honea said.

Maclean said an as yet unspecified number of civilians and firefighters had been injured, and that it could be days before authorities would know whether anyone had died. Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom has requested an emergency presidential disaster declaration from Trump to speed the flow of federal aid to victims.

The Ventura County Fire Department said the blaze had burned around 35,000 acres and evacuation orders were issued for some 88,000 homes in Ventura County and neighbouring Los Angeles County.

Image caption Smoke to the west of Los Angeles could be seen from the city's Hollywood area on Friday What is happening in northern California? Separate wildfires were ripping through the northern and southern parts of the state on Friday, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes.

An electric safety incident was reported by PG&E at about 6:15 a.m. Thursday near Pulga Road in Butte County, near where the Camp Fire started.

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