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

Vehicles are seen during evacuation from Paradise to Chico in Butte County California U.S in this

One fast-moving wildfire, known as the Camp fire, likely wiped out the entire town of Paradise, where 27,000 people were forced to evacuate.

Butte County Sheriff officials in Northern California claim that five people were found dead in their vehicles in the town of Paradise.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were located in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire", said a statement by the Butte County Sheriff's Department, adding that they had yet to be identified.

The wildfire in the county started early Thursday morning and quickly spread after winds fueled the flames.

Also burning in Ventura County was the Hill Fire, which grew to 10,000 acres by Thursday night, officials said.

Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for more than 52,000 people in the scenic area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, including some residents of Chico, population 93,000, near Paradise.

"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told the paper.

"It was like Dante's Inferno", said Paradise resident Eric, who was crying because he was unable to rescue his cat.

On Thursday, acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California and requested a presidential disaster declaration, saying that risky weather conditions were expected to last several days.

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On the outskirts of town, Patrick Knuthson, a fourth-generation resident, said only two of the 22 homes that once stood on his street are still there - his and a neighbor's.

Officials had also ordered an evacuation of Topanga Canyon as the fire spread to 14,000 acres with no containment.

Rescuers used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out of the way in order to reach a hospital and evacuate patients as the fire engulfed the building, Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said.

Firefighters battle the Camp Fire as it tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday. "This is a very unsafe wind-driven fire".

The fire then pushed south, jumped the 101 freeway on Friday morning and pushed into the Santa Monica range.

Malibu has about 13,000 residents - including a number of celebrities - and many have shared pictures of busy roads as scores of cars take to the roads in a bid to escape.

"I was frantic", she said.

All still wearing pajamas, the Barnett family had left their home in Thousand Oaks at 3:30 a.m. and grabbed breakfast at Denny's.

"I feel very vulnerable posting this, but I feel I should", she wrote in the post. Called the Carr Fire, near Redding, it killed eight people, burned about 1,100 homes and consumed 358 square miles (927 square kilometers) before it was contained.

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