Three California wildfires force road closings, thousands of evacuations
November 9, 2018
While some parts of the country are experiencing snowfall, California is still being impacted by wildfires. Three wildfires in California are threatening thousands of residents and structures and have shut down several roads, including a section of Highway 101 just east of Thousand Oaks.
The Camp Fire in Butte County near the town of Paradise has burned 70,000 acres as of 10:30 a.m. local time. Located at Pulga Road at Camp Creek Road near Jarbo Gap, the fire is threatening 15,000 structures, with 2,000 structures already destroyed. The Butte County Sherriff’s Office is reporting at least five fatalities as of Friday afternoon, all inside vehicles.
Caltrans is reporting the following road closures as of Friday morning:
- State Route 191 at the junction of State Route 70.
- State Route 32 at Yosemite Drive in Chico.
- State Route 70 from Pentz Road to the north junction of State Route 89.
- State Route 70 from 4.6 miles east of the junction of SR 191 at Pentz Road to the north junction of SR 89.
- State Route 99 from the State Route 149 junction to Southgate Avenue in Chico.
Evacuation orders have been established for Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley. Forest Ranch is under an evacuation warning. As of Friday morning, the fire was at 5 percent containment.
Further south in Ventura County, the Woolsey Fire has destroyed approximately 14,000 acres near E Street and Alfa Road just south of Simi Valley. As of press time, it was unclear how many structures were threatened or destroyed as emergency crews were focused on evacuating residents safely.
Approximately 45,000 residents have been evacuated in Ventura County, with an additional 43,000 evacuated in Los Angeles County. On Friday morning, fire officials estimated another 60,000 residents could be evacuated if the fire continues to spread.
The Woolsey Fire had jumped the 101 freeway in the early morning on Friday. According to Caltrans, the following road closures are in place as of Friday morning:
- U.S. 101 from Reyes Adobe Road to Mulholland Drive/Valley Circle Boulevard.
- Potrero Road between Ranch Dos Vientos and S. Lewis Road.
- Pacific Coast Highway northbound at Topanga Canyon (SR 27).
- Pacific Coast Highway southbound at Leo Carrillo State Beach (L.A./Ventura County Line).
Due to high winds, the fire has been spreading quickly. According to a news conference, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has moved the containment perimeter to the Pacific Ocean, east of Highway 23, west of the Valley Circle and south to Los Angeles. At 0 percent containment, firefighting crews are also fighting for resources among the other operations deployed for the many fires raging across the Golden State.
Just west of the Woosley Fire, the Hill Fire has scorched approximately 6,000 acres near Hill Canyon Road and Santa Rosa Road in Santa Rosa Valley. More than 400 structures were under threat. Fortunately, no structures had been destroyed as of noon local time on Friday.
As of Friday afternoon, no road closures have been resulted as a result of the Hill Fire.
Fire crews containing the Hill Fire were moved to the Woolsey Fire operation. If left unattended due to efforts battling the Woolsey Fire, the Hill Fire will likely reach the ocean.
Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an emergency proclamation for Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.