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Pair of Southern California wildfires growing in intensity, forcing evacuations

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A pair of rapidly intensifying wildfires in Ventura County, California, are forcing thousands of evacuations and already burning structures.

The Woolsey Fire, the blaze currently causing the most concern for firefighters, was up to 7,500 acres around 1:30 a.m. local time, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The department said 30,000 people had been evacuated in the area and as many as 30,000 homes were threatened. The fire was zero percent contained.

Ventura County Fire Department clarified on Twitter that Los Robles Hospital was not being evacuated.

A specific number of buildings destroyed was unclear, but Ventura County Fire Department said “multiple structures” were now burned to the ground.

There were no reports of fatalities or severe injuries.

Over 400 personnel were working on the fire early Friday morning.

The challenging fire conditions are expected to continue Friday in Southern California where wind alerts and red flag warnings have been issued and wind gusts could reach 70 mph and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent.

The Woolsey Fire was burning northeast of Thousand Oaks, not far from where a shooting killed 12 people late Wednesday night.

The Los Angeles Police Department also issued a citywide tactical alert for the fire, allowing its units to assist in handling the fire.

In addition to the Woolsey Fire, the Hill Fire was burning northwest of Thousand Oaks in the Santa Rosa Valley. The fire grew to 10,000 acres on Thursday, and forced the mandatory evacuations of several areas.

The Point Mugu Naval Base was evacuated, as well as the towns of Camarillo Springs and Dos Vientos.

“As a precaution and to facilitate a safe and orderly response to the Hill Canyon Fire, the NBVC Commanding Officer has issued a MANDATORY EVACUATION order for NBVC Point Mugu,” the base sent out in a press release.

While the two fires raged in Southern California, the Camp Fire in Northern California laid waste to the city of Paradise overnight. Tens of thousands had fled the city, just east of Chico, where officials said thousands of buildings had been burnt to the ground.

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