California Wildfires: Malibu residents reflect on Woolsey Fire


In southern California, the Woolsey Fire has burned more than 91,000 acres and was 20 percent contained, with 370 structures destroyed, officials said.

The fire had forced authorities to issue evacuation orders for a quarter million people in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and beachside communities including the Malibu beach colony, home to many celebrities.

At least two people have died in the Woolsey Fire, which is 20 miles long and 14 miles wide, threatening 57,000 structures. On Monday (November 12) both returning residents and those who had chosen to wait out the fire, surveyed the damage in their neighborhood. On some lots where million dollar homes once stood, the blaze left behind a scene of utter ruin, a mix of charred wreckage, burned palm trees, debris and ash.

One Malibu resident who didn’t heed the evacuation order was 59-year-old Tony Haynes, who described how strong winds brought the fire through his neighborhood during the weekend, with the sky growing dark, saying there was so much smoke he put on his scuba-diving tank to breathe. “It was a fire storm, the worse I’ve ever seen it, I’ve fought a lot of fires at my house. I’ve been here since 1963 in Malibu but when the fire storm came over the hill here and it was about 60 miles an hour plus, it turned pitch black when the fire storm came over. After that, I just ran around and put out fires.”

Haynes said his home survived.

Many of those allowed to return were left without power or cellphone service, even if their homes were spared by the flames.

“We’re fine, we got very, very lucky. We have a lot of friends who their houses are gone, all Malibu park is gone. We’re very lucky, we only had one house in our family that didn’t make it and that’s my mom’s boyfriend’s,” said Devon DeMatteo.

Winds of up to 40 miles per hour (64 km per hour) were expected to continue in southern California through Tuesday, heightening the risk of fresh blazes ignited by scattered embers

Search teams have recovered remains of 42 people killed by a fierce wildfire that largely incinerated the town of Paradise in northern California, marking the greatest loss of life from a wild land blaze in state history. Grace Lee reports.
It’s now the deadliest blaze in California history.

Officials say at least 42 people have been killed in the so-called Camp Fire.

The latest death toll announced after authorities found the remains of another 13 victims.

That fire is already the most destructive on record in the state, leaving the small town of Paradise in ashes.

Since erupting on Thursday (November 8) its claimed more than 7000 homes and businesses in the area.

Continue reading:

What are wildfires, how do they start, why do they spread so quickly and where’s been struck this year?

Gerard Butler and Miley Cyrus’ mansions destroyed and Simon Cowell’s £18m Malibu home under threat as California wildfire death toll hits 31:

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