California wildfire turns deadly, leaves nine dead Photogallery

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through the area

A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through the area

Nine people were declared dead and 150,000 evacuated as fierce wildfires raged across the western U.S. state of California, with one rapidly spreading blaze threatening the famed resort of Malibu.

The Woolsey Fire was originally reported just south of Simi Valley and about 25 miles southwest of Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people enjoying country line dancing at college night before killing himself.

The town saw 6,700 homes and businesses ravaged by the fire, one of the most destructive in state history.

The Woolsey Fire broke out about 2:25 p.m. Thursday, pushed by strong Santa Ana winds which prevented fire commanders from ordering aerial assaults in the early morning hours.

The Camp Fire's most significant growth happened Thursday afternoon, when it grew 10,000 acres in about 90 minutes, more than one football field per second, according to CNN.

When the order came to evacuate, it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents chose to leave at once, they said.

Kim Kardashian, Alyssa Milano and Melissa Etheridge were among thousands fleeing from their homes in and around Malibu on Friday (Nov 9), as a fast-moving wildfire forced evacuations from the celebrity-packed area.

He said another 35 people were missing and three firefighters had been injured.

More than 2,200 firefighters were battling the blaze, backed up by helicopters and water tankers.

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The fire overnight jumped the 101 Freeway in the western end of Los Angeles County, forcing a shutdown of the major artery after drivers in some cases were forced to make U-turns and drive the opposite direction to avoid flames.

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said in a Friday morning news conference that the "magnitude of the destruction that we are seeing is really, again, unbelievable and heartbreaking, and our hearts go out to everybody who has been affected by this and impacted". A list compiled by a local news affiliate reports a growing number of missing people after almost the entire town of Paradise, population roughly 30,000, has been destroyed.

Highway 101 is now open in both directions in Ventura County, but is closed farther south in Los Angeles County due to the Woolsey Fire burning near the border between the two counties.

"There's nothing much left standing", said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesman Scott Maclean. Authorities said earlier the flames had destroyed multiple structures, though it was unclear how many, and it continued to threaten at least 30,000 homes in the two counties. "My home is in jeopardy but. everything with a heartbeat is safe", she said.

Firefighters admit they are being beaten by the intense flames and have turned their attention to helping people escape.

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

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

"Our scientists and toxicologists have reviewed information about the fire's location and do not believe the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke", the statement read.

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