Raging Californian fires kill 25

Many houses burnt down in Malibu

Many houses burnt down in Malibu

The death toll in the wildfires raging through California has risen to 25, according to officials.

This comes after 14 more bodies were discovered in or near the decimated town of Paradise in the state’s north, bringing the number of confirmed dead there to 23.

Two more people were killed in the south, near Malibu.

An estimated 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has drawn anger by saying that poor forestry management is to blame for the fires.

The blaze known as the Camp Fire started spreading through Butte County on Thursday, and firefighters were powerless to stop it destroying the town of Paradise.

Another fire swept into the affluent southern beach resort of Malibu on Friday and has now doubled in size.

Known as the Woolsey, it had burned more than 83,000 acres (33,500 hectares) by late Saturday.

 

Among the towns under evacuation orders is Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people in a rampage on Wednesday.

Meteorologists have warned that dangerous conditions may continue well into next week, as hot dry “devil winds” blow through the Los Angeles area.

“This is getting bad,” said Marc Chenard of the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center. “It’s nothing but bad news.”

At a news conference on Saturday, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said 10 of the additional victims were found in Paradise with four in the nearby Concow area.

Images from Paradise showed the sky filled with acrid smoke, almost blotting out the sun.

By Saturday night, the Camp Fire had burned 100,000 acres (40,500 hectares) and was only 20 per cent contained. Fire chiefs estimate it will take about three weeks to fully control the blaze.

The fire started in the Plumas National Forest, north of Sacramento, on Thursday and quickly engulfed the town of Paradise.

Residents fled for their lives as more than 6,700 homes and businesses were destroyed, making the fire the most destructive in the state’s history. The flames moved so fast that some had to abandon their cars and escape the town on foot.

 

Paradise is hell. A smouldering, sepia world in ruins. The air is acrid. Burning chemicals leave a bitter taste in your mouth. -BBC

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