California wildfires turn deadly as thousands evacuate homes

US President Donald Trump, however, threatened to suspend federal assistance to California, accusing the state of failing to prevent the fires.

Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Los Angeles County fire chief Daryl Osby said thousands of firefighters were working in the toughest, most extreme conditions they had ever seen.

"This event was the worst-case scenario".

Late Friday Butte County Sheriff Korey Honea updated the Camp Fire death toll.

Trump early on Saturday tweeted that "gross mismanagement of forests" was to blame for the two unchecked wildfires.

The two bodies were found severely burned inside a auto on a long residential driveway in Malibu, Los Angeles County sheriff's Chief John Benedict said.

Sheriff deputies continue to search for bodies under the rubble and are fielding 35 official missing persons reports.

Most of the town's buildings are in ruin. Since it started, the blaze grew to nearly 140 square miles, destroyed more than 6,700 structures - almost all of them homes - and was burning completely out of control.

"You could feel the heat from the flames", said McMillen, who returned Friday and found his home intact but stinking of smoke. "These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday". Celebrity website TMZ reported that the Malibu ridge home of Caitlyn Jenner, America's best-known transgender person, was destroyed by the flames on Friday.

Fire surrounded the evacuation route, and drivers panicked.

'We never heard from them again, ' Ms Lee said.

The wind-driven flames also spread to the west and reached Chico, a city of 90,000 people. The university said it was closing Malibu campus and its Calabasas campus to the north until November 26 but classes would be remotely administered online and through email.

"Usually the winds here come off the water - they are wet and cool".

100 California National Guard troops have been sent to northern California to help residents evacuate, and to map the scope of the fire's damage.

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"There's not going to be any relief in this firefight", he said. "It's that kind of devastation", he said.

State officials put the total number of people forced from their homes by California's fires at more than 200,000. The Hill fire has torched about 4,500 acres in Ventura County.

The fierce wildfires have raged throughout the state this week.

It took just a few hours for the fire to explode in size after breaking out early Thursday morning.

The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management said Saturday the Arizona personnel and equipment will handle assignments that include fire suppression and backfilling for local fire departments.

The Ventura blazes erupted days after a gunman opened fire in a crowded country music bar in the county, killing 12.

Below are ways you can assist those affected or get help if you're in need.

Ms Miller at first scoffed at the notion of getting back in a vehicle.

Although the fatalities overshadowed any loss of property, Malibu's fame inevitably called attention to the state of its multimillion-dollar homes, including one made famous in ABC's reality dating series "The Bachelor".

Flames engulfed hospitals, homes and other structures as it whipped through Paradise.

According to the authorities, have evacuated more than 150 thousand people. He described the community as having a lot of elderly residents, some with no vehicles.

Vaughan could hear screams and explosions nearby Thursday as she and her husband got in their auto and drove away. Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband, Lou, left a frantic voicemail at around 9:30 a.m. saying they needed to get out.

"It's so surreal because it's so dark, and when we're in the tunnel you can't see anything", Tricia Fultz said.

The fire crossed USA 101 a few miles east of Thousand Oaks - the site of Wednesday night's bar shooting - and was headed south to the Pacific coast in the direction of Malibu Creek State Park and the city of Malibu, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

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

  • Sonia Alvarado