Woolsey Fire burns homes as it exceeds 35,000 acres, continues to grow at Los Angeles-Ventura County border

ByAmy Powell, Leanne Suter, and ABC7.com staff KABC logo
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Woolsey Fire chars 35,000 acres, 2 deaths possibly fire-related
The Woolsey Fire exploded to 35,000 acres on Friday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and fire officials said the relentless blaze is continuing to grow.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- The Woolsey Fire exploded to 35,000 acres on Friday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and fire officials said the relentless blaze is continuing to grow.

The Woolsey Fire reached Bell Canyon and damaged several homes in the area.

Around 250,000 residents in both counties have been evacuated. Authorities said that number could grow as evacuations continue to happen.

An investigation is underway as Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials told the Los Angeles County Coroner's office they believe two deaths in Malibu are believed to be related to the fire. The bodies were discovered at approximately 4:43 p.m. on the 33000 block of Mulholland Highway. No other details were made available.

No other injuries were reported.

Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties due to the two fires, the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire. President Donald Trump also approved an emergency declaration for the state.

The fast-moving Woolsey Fire jumped the 101 Freeway at Chesebro Road at about 5:15 a.m. and established itself on the south side of freeway, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The jump forced the freeway to close again in both directions at Liberty Canyon Road as the fire moved uphill, burning approximately 3 acres, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The blaze started in Simi Valley near the Rocketdyne facility in the Santa Susana Pass. By early Friday morning, the fire had grown to more than 10,000 acres, then to 14,000 by around 11:30 a.m., Ventura County Fire Department Chief Mark Lorenzen said.

Flames consumed dry brush as fire raged in Agoura Hills and consumed homes.

"We have hundreds of firefighters here on the fire lines right now, many more on order," Lorenzen said.

The containment stood at 0 percent. Authorities said at least 150 homes have been destroyed. Among the homes ruined in the blaze, several were in the Oak Park area as well as Bell Canyon.

MORE: How to help victims of Woolsey, Hill fires

The Woolsey Fire also burned the beloved Western Town at Paramount Ranch in Agoura, where popular shows such as "Westworld" and "M*A*S*H" were filmed.

The massive blaze triggered mandatory evacuations - including the entire city of Malibu.

MORE: Full list of evacuations, road closures in Ventura County fires

Dozens of celebrities living in the area were also evacuated, and Caitlyn Jenner's home was among those destroyed in the blaze.

Homes were also destroyed in West Hills as the fire quickly entered the San Fernando Valley. Evacuation orders were issued for the entire community.

Many areas in Simi Valley were also placed under mandatory evacuations as the fire moved back toward the city by Friday afternoon.

Fires threatened the Pepperdine campus Friday night as the Woolsey Fire continued to rage.

Detailed fire and shelter information can be found at www.vcemergency.com.

The destructive flames tore through neighborhoods as wind gusts reached upwards of 30 and 40 mph.

A second fire, dubbed the Hill Fire, burning in the Santa Rosa Valley east of Camarillo, west of Simi Valley near Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks, was mere miles from the scene of a deadly mass shooting that claimed 12 lives Wednesday night. Lorenzen said the fire activity in the Hill Fire zone has diminished, allowing more resources to be more focused on the Woolsey Fire.

Hundreds of Ventura County firefighters and eight air tankers were battling the flames on the ground and from above.

Plumes of thick, white smoke could be seen rising above the burn site as strong Santa Ana winds drove the flames amid red flag conditions.

The cause of the fires remain under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.