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Nine people were declared dead and tens of thousands evacuated Friday as fierce wildfires raged across the western U.S. state of California, with one rapidly spreading blaze threatening the famed resort of Malibu.

Only a day after it began, the blaze near the town of Paradise had grown to nearly 140 square miles (362 square kilometers), had destroyed more than 6,700 structures - almost all of them homes - and was burning completely out of control.

About two-thirds of the city of Malibu was ordered evacuated early Friday as a ferocious wildfire roared toward the beachside community that is home to about 13,000 residents, some of them Hollywood celebrities.

The Camp Fire has destroyed businesses, homes, restaurants, supermarkets, and a retirement home, USA Today reported.

Evacuation center locations, road closure and school closure information for the fires can be found on the Ventura County emergency page here. Today, it mushroomed to 70,000 acres and apparently is still growing as fire officials report 0 percent containment.

The wind-driven flames also spread to the west and reached Chico, a city of 90,000 people.

A spokesman for the city confirmed families already traumatised by the shootings in Thousand Oaks are among those who have been affected by mandatory evacuation orders put in place as the fires worsen.

Cal Fire Captain Bill Murphy said winds have calmed down in the valley but there are "shifting, erratic winds" with speeds of up to 45mph along ridge tops. "It's that kind of devastation", he said.

Flames burn inside a van as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

The Los Angeles and Ventura county fire departments say multiple buildings have been destroyed or damaged, but exact numbers were not available early Friday.

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The National Weather Service issued red-flag warnings for fire dangers in many areas of the state, saying low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through Friday evening.

"Fortunately for us, it is burning into the old footprint of the Springs Fire of 2013, and the fire activity there has diminished", he told reporters Friday, adding that this has allowed crews to "focus a little bit more heavily" on the Woolsey Fire instead.

In Los Angeles, another, smaller fire in Griffith Park forced the Los Angeles Zoo to evacuate a number of show birds and some small primates on Friday as flames came within less than 2 miles (3 km) of the facility, zoo officials said in a statement.

"If you are ready to go, go", Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Chief John Benedict told those in evacuations areas. "It's all hands on deck to rescue people and get people out of harm's way".

Are you in the area or have you been evacuated?

"It is what we feared for a long time", Honea said, noting there was no time to knock on residents' doors one-by-one. 'People started getting out of their vehicles and running'. Not to mention how many roads were overtaken by smoke and made visibility impossible, while many others were lined by flames licking the pavement as people tried to safely pass.

"It's a worst-case scenario", Bass said.

Thick gray smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

"We're trying to get as many people out as quickly as possible and save as many lives as we can", he said. He described the community as having a lot of elderly residents, some with no vehicles.

Kelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband's 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from on Thursday morning.


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