Malibu residents ordered out as California wildfire nears

Ventura County Fire

Schools and universities cancelled classes with some already closed after a gunman shot dead 12 people in nearby Thousand Oaks.

A second fire has been burning in the Santa Rosa Valley east of Camarillo, west of Simi Valley near Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks.

Heavy smoke and strong winds hampered visibility for crews on the firelines and residents trying to evacuate fire zones.

Firefighters are challenged by residents moving about evacuation areas and high traffic as they follow the fire front.

Several evacuation sites were giving protective masks for residents, Ventura County Emergency Services said, although there were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries.

The Woolsey Fire broke out about 2:25 p.m. Thursday, pushed by strong Santa Ana winds which prevented fire commanders from ordering aerial assaults in the early morning hours.

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So far, it has burned at least 70,000 acres, injured firefighters and residents and destroyed parts of Paradise, a town of 26,000 people roughly 80 miles north of Sacramento. In Northern California, a blaze visible by satellite consumed the town of Paradise on Thursday and had burned almost 110 square miles by Friday morning.

The 101 Freeway is closed in both directions as more than 165 firefighters battle the flames.

The Woolsey Fire appeared to be the more unsafe of the two blazes, and was burning south through the Kanan Road corridor toward Malibu and the ocean.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweets that the fire is headed to the ocean, punctuating the message with the declaration: "Imminent threat!" Early Friday morning, CalFire said it had burned 10,000 acres, or about 15 square miles.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for the Woolsey Fire south of the 101 Freeway to the coast - from the Ventura/LA County line east to Malibu Canyon Road, including areas in Malibu.

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

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Voluntary evacuations have been added in Ventura County for Lake Sherwood and the area south of Hwy 101 and north of Potrero Road between Westlake Boulevard and Wendy Drive in Thousand Oaks.

The highway is expected to remain closed Friday morning, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

For the latest updates, visit the Ventura County Fire Department, Public Information Officer Twitter here.

Wind gusts of up to 77 miles per hour were reported in Los Angeles County on Friday morning. "Threatening more homes, more property, more lives".

Wildfires raging west of Los Angeles have forced school closures.

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