The Wall Street Journal: At least 5 dead as wildfires force evacuations in Northern and Southern California

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Wildfires raged Friday on both ends of California, with at least five people killed in the north and authorities ordering evacuations in the south, including the area still reeling from a mass shooting at a country-music bar earlier in the week.

The Woolsey Fire exploded to more than 14,000 acres after starting Thursday in a tinder-dry canyon of Ventura County. It raced toward the Pacific Ocean and prompted mandatory evacuations of as many as 75,000 homes all the way to the coast in Malibu.

Authorities Friday afternoon opened all four lanes of the northbound Pacific Coast Highway to southbound traffic, to hasten the flow of evacuees fleeing the path of the fire.

A site in nearby Thousand Oaks, Calif., that had served as a family-reunification center after Wednesday’s shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill, in which 12 people were slain, is now being used as an evacuation center for people fleeing the fire that charred the nearby hills.

In Northern California, the 70,000-acre Camp Fire, which started early Thursday, continued to threaten an estimated 15,000 structures after destroying about 2,000 homes and other structures. It already had laid waste to much of the city of Paradise, a community of about 27,000 people in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

More than 1,000 homes and other structures were believed destroyed, while dozens of people remained missing from a town of many retirees where fire officials said many people couldn’t flee fast enough. Officials of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said five bodies had been found in vehicles in one area of Paradise. Deputy Chief Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the people died trying to escape the fire.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.