Malibu fire rages through coastal homes

Cathy Fallon reacts as she stands near the charred remains of her home November 9 in Paradise.

"It's all gone", he said softly as he sifted through the remains.

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

The Pasadena California Firefighters Association responded to the president on Twitter.

"This weighs heavy on all of us", he said. An estimated 52,000 people evacuated in Butte County, where Paradise is located. Question is, where do you go?

California fire officials said crews gave up fighting the flames Thursday and instead helped people get out alive. Authorities said investigators believed the driver became disoriented and the vehicle was overcome by fire.

Three wildfires in California - the Camp Fire in the northern part of the state, and the Woolsey and Hill Fires in the southern part of the state - have wreaked havoc, wiping one town almost off the map and forcing a quarter of a million people to flee their homes, reports Reuters.

Authorities said some 200,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders, including the entire city of Malibu.

A White House statement said the the declaration of emergency would help prevent "the threat of a catastrophe" across the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Butte.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Chief John Benedict said two people have been found dead but provided no details on the deaths. Conditions in the area have hampered the investigation.

Thousands of residents packed the Pacific Coast Highway to head south or took refuge on beaches, along with their horses and other pets.

The motorists parked at the end of the road.

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The fire then pushed southward, jumped the wide US 101 freeway before dawn Friday and pushed into the Santa Monica range. There also were reports of flames ripping through an apartment building and a mobile home park, along with people calling authorities to say they were trapped in burning structures.

People are now staying in shelters in the town of Chico, some 14 miles away.

Another fire was burning farther west in Ventura County, also moving toward the ocean.

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

Officials took advantage of temporarily calm conditions to assess damage from the blaze that has burned 109 square miles (282 square kilometers) north and west of downtown Los Angeles.

Evacuation centers for animals were opened Friday morning at Hansen Dam, 11770 Foothill Blvd.in Lake View Terrace, after the evacuation center at Pierce College in Woodland Hills reached capacity. The entire town of Malibu was evacuated due to the threat of the fire. Two of her dogs and nine cats died.

The blaze broke out early Thursday and has grown at an astonishing rate of 80 football fields per minute.

- Officials said there have been two incidents of looting as the 70,000-acre Woolsey Fire continues to burn through Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Tens of thousands of people fled the Camp Fire, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and evacuated on foot.

Most of northern California has been placed under a "Red Flag Warning", which means "extreme fire behavior" can occur within 24 hours. It was unclear when those schools would reopen.

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