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Rickie Lee Fowler, convicted of murder and arson, was sentenced to death. Six deaths were reported in the fire, which began after a lighted road flare was tossed into the brush. Privacy policy More Newsletters. A rescued donkey stands tied to a road sign on the side of the road after the Camp Fire moved through the area on Friday. Millosovich carries a cage full of cats that were found in the road after the Camp Fire moved through the area on Friday. Businesses continue to burn under a darkened smokey sky in Paradise, north of Sacramento, Friday evening.

Smoke rises next to a power line tower after the Camp Fire moved through the area on Friday where it destroyed thousands of homes and hundreds of offices. Firefighters push down a wall while battling against a burning apartment complex in Paradise. The town's population has been evacuated and entire neighborhoods leveled. Some 52, residents have been evacuated. Police in Paradise said they had received two reports of looting but have yet to make any arrests.

Honea said of would-be looters, vowing swift arrest and maximum penalties. When Paradise was evacuated, the order set off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got stuck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot. People reported seeing much of the Northern California community of Paradise go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement center. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, explaining that crews gave up attacking the flames and instead helped people evacuate.

The causes of all three fires are under investigation. The Camp Fire began at 6. The Camp Fire is 5 per cent contained. The utility told state regulators on Thursday that it experienced a problem on an electrical transmission line near the site of the blaze minutes before the fire broke out.

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The company said it later observed damage to a transmission tower on the line. The wildfires come unusually late in the season for California, after a lack of fall rain storms left the region unseasonably dry. Five people were found burned alive in their cars midday Friday after the relentless Camp Fire ravaged the town of Paradise. Even after sunrise, smoke still filtered the sun over the burned out areas Paradise, as the Camp Fire burns out of control. Abandoned vehicles sit at a car lot in Paradise, north of Sacramento, California on Friday after the Camp Fire ravaged the area.

In Paradise, a line of burned out abandoned cars sit on the road after the Camp Fire moved through the area on Thursday. Abandoned cars from fleeing residents of the Magalia and Paradise Pine area, line Skyway road the day after the start of the Camp Fire that continues to burn out of control through the region, fueled by high winds in Butte County, California. Hospital beds and other equipment sit in a parking lot outside the Feather River Hospital Friday in Paradise. Patients were evacuated from the hospital before a massive wildfire swept through the area.

The Camp Fire above completely engulfed the town of Paradise in Northern California, growing to 70, acres since starting on Thursday morning and killing at least five people who became trapped in their cars while trying to escape. In Southern California, wind alerts and red flag warnings have been issued, warning wind gusts could reach 70mph and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent.

No injuries have been reported in either southern fire as of Friday, but officials have warned that they will remain life-threatening through the weekend. At around 7am local time Friday, officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for the entire city of Malibu as the Woolsey Fire raged toward the Pacific Ocean.

Raging California wildfires fuelled by strong winds

Officials urged anyone who was ordered to evacuate to leave their home without delay in order to clear the way for fire crews to operate. By Friday night, the fire had jumped the Pacific Coast Highway and had a clear path to the ocean. In Southern California, the fire has spread toward the Pacific, forcing the total evacuation of Malibu.

Caitlyn Jenner's home was destroyed by the flames, and other celebrity homes under fire threat are seen on the map above. A helicopter drops water on a brush fire behind a home during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, California on Friday.

Redding confronts a deadly pattern: A history of wildfires and development in high-fire-risk areas

Clouds of smoke appear from the Woosley Fire to the north in Malibu as people ride their bicycles in Venice Beach, California. A firefighter keeps watch as the charred remains of a burned out home are seen during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu. He pointed out that many of those affected by the shooting had probably been forced to evacuate their homes, and noted that the loss of property was never comparable to the loss of life.

Tonight we are talking about a serious fire situation, but thankfully we have not lost a single life,' the mayor said. Smoke from the Hill Fire could be seen over the area where a vigil was held last night for the victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill less than 24 hours earlier. The Thousand Oaks Teen Center that was used as meeting point after the massacre has now been transformed into a shelter from the fire. Paramount Ranch, where a number of Hollywood westerns have been filmed, is seen after it was decimated by a wildfire. Kanye West's office above in Calabasas was evacuated on Friday as the intense flames of the Woolsey Fire approached.

HBO said that no cast or crew were at the Paramount Ranch location when it burned down. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Rainn Wilson, and Alyssa Milano have been forced to evacuate as the flames surrounded their homes. West's offices in Calabasas also had to be evacuated after the raging wildfire encroached on the area. Around the same time reports emerged that Caitlyn Jenner's 3, square foot, 4-bedroom pad overlooking the Malibu beach was destroyed by fierce flames from the same blaze. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga's mansion nearby in Malibu was seen surrounded by a blanket of thick smoke as the wildfire overtook the beachside city before moving toward Oxnard.

Botanists and fire geographers have calculated that half-century-old chaparral, heavily laden with dead mass, burns with 50 times more intensity than year-old chaparral. Put another way, an acre of old chaparral is the fuel equivalent of 75 barrels of crude oil. A great Malibu firestorm, therefore, may generate the heat of three million barrels of burning oil at a temperature of 2, degrees. And such extreme fires can destroy the structure of the soil itself.

A water-repellant layer is created that dramatically accelerates subsequent flooding and erosion. All of which means that "total fire suppression" - the official policy in the Southern California mountains since - is a futile, indeed disastrous, strategy that makes doomsdaylike firestorms and subsequent floods virtually inevitable by preventing the recycling of dead chaparral by more frequent small fires. For a generation after Rindge's death, his widow, May, struggled to keep the family Shangri-la isolated and intact. Like one of the iron-fisted heroines played by a Barbara Stanwyck, the so-called "Queen of the Malibu" closed the ranch roads in , strung barbed wire along the perimeter and posted armed fence riders with orders to "shoot to kill.

Opened to traffic in , the Pacific Coast Highway gave Angelenos their first view of the magnificent Malibu coast and introduced a potent new fuse - the automobile - into the flammable landscape. The indefatigable Mrs. Rindge continued to fight the road builders and developers in the courts, but the costs of litigation forced her to lease choice parts of Malibu Beach to a movie colony that included Jack Warner, Clara Bow, Dolores Del Rio and Barbara Stanwyck herself.

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California Wildfires

The Colony's unexpected housewarming was a lightning-swift wildfire that destroyed 13 new homes in late October Exactly a year later, walnut pickers in the Thousand Oaks area accidentally ignited another blaze that quickly grew into one of the greatest conflagrations in modern Malibu history. The Decker Canyon fire was a worst-case scenario involving year-old chaparral and a fierce Santa Ana. Faced with a five-mile front of towering flames, 1, firefighters could do little except flee for their lives. As the firestorm unexpectedly wheeled toward the Palisades, there was official panic.

County Supervisor Henry Wright, his nerves shaken by a visit to the collapsing fire lines, posted patrolmen at the city limits to alert residents for evacuation.


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Should the "fire raging in the Malibu District get closer," he gasped, "our whole city might go. In hindsight, the fire should have provoked a historic debate on the wisdom of opening Malibu to further development. Indeed, a few months before the conflagration, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Despite a further series of fires in , and , which destroyed almost homes in Malibu and Topanga Canyon, public officials stubbornly disregarded the conservationist common sense of Olmsted's proposal.


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Instead, in December , an impecunious May Rindge was forced to put her entire empire on the auction block. Potential buyers were advised "to make an early selection. During World War II - severe drought years on the West Coast - hundreds of fire watchers were sent into the Southern California mountains to guard against Axis saboteurs. A few months after they were withdrawn, Malibu homes were incinerated in another November fire. Yet this new disaster failed to discourage a postwar migration of artists, printers, book dealers, architects including Olmsted himself , poets and screenwriters - many of very modest means, and some seeking to escape the scrutiny of McCarthyism - who envisioned Malibu as Carmel South.

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He also provided a classic account of the onslaught of the terrible firestorm of Christmas week , which, burning to the sea, retraced the path of the blaze. The wind was still savage when we went to bed at ten, the sky swept clear, aglitter with stars. Anacapa flashed its warning light. The cypresses, pines and eucalyptuses were noisier than the surf. Cats' fur threw sparks when stroked.

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We slept in spite of the sinister atmosphere. I woke up abruptly at four to see a fierce glow in the sky. God, the whole face of the mountain was burning, in a long line just below the summit, and moving toward us on the wind. Fear dried my mouth. I knew doom when I saw it. A subsequent Forest Service study of this disaster, which killed one person and destroyed homes, stressed the impossible challenge of combating such unpredictable natural forces: "Malibu fires combine most known elements of violent, erratic and extreme fire behavior: fire whirls, extreme rates of spread, sudden changes in speed and direction of fire spread, flash-overs of unburned gases complicated by intense heat and impenetrable smoke held close to the ground.

If the government could not defeat wildfires in the Santa Monicas, critics asked, how would it deal with possible nuclear conflagrations? Accordingly, as chronicled by fire historian Stephen Pyne, the Eisenhower administration acknowledged the Malibu blaze as "the first major fire disaster of a national scope," and Congress - more concerned with the credibility of a vast civil-defense establishment than with the tragedy of local homeowners - debated how to provide "complete fire prevention and protection in Southern California.

A perverse law of Pyne's new fire regime was that fire stimulates development as well as upward social succession.


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By declaring Malibu a federal disaster area and offering blaze victims tax relief as well as preferential low-interest loans, the Eisenhower administration established the precedent for the public subsidization of firebelt suburbs. Each conflagration, moreover, was punctually followed by rebuilding on a larger and more exclusive scale as land-use regulations and sometimes even the fire code were relaxed to accommodate fire "victims. The completion of a trunk water line in , therefore, was the signal for a new land rush.

The county's Regional Planning Commission promptly endorsed developers' fantasies by authorizing a staggering 1, percent expansion of the Malibu population over the next generation: from 7, in to a projected , in Yet, even as they were opening the floodgates to destructive overdevelopment, county and state officials were also turning down every opportunity, between and , to expand public beach frontage a miserable 22 percent of the total.

Nor did they show any interest in creating a public land trust in the mountains, which were entirely under private ownership, including even the streambeds. Consequently, most of Malibu remained as inaccessible to the general public as during the isolationist Rindge era. As Thomas Mikkelson and Donald Neuwirth, historians of the coastal-access battle, have put it, "The seven million people within an hour's drive of Malibu got Beach Boys music and surfer movies, but the 20, residents kept the beach. In feverish buying and selling of land, the coast has become utterly transformed and unrecognizable.

Each succeeding house, bigger and grander, takes the view of its neighbors in a kind of unbridled competition.