Fire officials: Two dead, multiple homes destroyed in Southern California wildfires

    Fire rages in Ventura Co. Calif. on Nov. 8, 2018.PNG

    The latest: Thursday, Nov. 15

    People are returning to some neighborhoods evacuated during the devastating Southern California wildfire but officials say the threat is far from over.

    Forecasters say relentless winds that have fanned the flames could begin to diminish on Wednesday. However, officials are tempering optimism with caution, saying there are numerous hotspots.

    The weeklong fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties has burned an area roughly the size of Denver and is only 40 percent contained.

    Authorities allowed people back into several communities on Tuesday, including a portion of Malibu. Tens of thousands of people remain under evacuation orders.

    The fire has killed two people and burned at least 435 homes and other buildings. The damage figure is expected to rise as damage assessments continue.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

    The fire erupted last Thursday as gusty, dry Santa Ana winds and spread rapidly through communities stretching from northwest of Los Angeles to the Malibu coast.

    The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has tweeted that Southern California's huge wildfire has apparently destroyed the TV and movie production location known as "Western Town" at the historic Paramount Ranch.

    The National Park Service says it has no details or photos but the structures that formed Old West facades are believed to have burned on Friday.

    The park service says the ranch served as locations for productions ranging from 1938's "The Adventures of Marco Polo" to TV's "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," and the more recent shows "The Mentalist" and "Weeds."

    Western Town specifically was built for TV productions in the 1950s and was used for such westerns as "The Cisco Kid" and "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre."

    The location set in the mountains west of Los Angeles dates to 1927 when Paramount Pictures leased the ranch and began making films there.

    Filming continued for decades even as the ranch changed hands. It was acquired by the National Park Service in 1980 but has continued to function as a filming location.

    When not in use for filming, visitors could stroll through Western Town while hiking or ride through on horseback.

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    A mandatory evacuation order for the entire city of Malibu has been reinstated as one of California's major wildfires bears down on the enclave called home by many Hollywood stars.

    A city-wide evacuation was ordered early Friday and then was scaled back.

    But it has been extended again to include all of Malibu, a city of about 13,000 stretching along 21 miles (34 kilometers) of coast west of Los Angeles.



    Traffic is jammed on sections of Pacific Coast Highway.

    Some residents have evacuated to the parking lot of popular Zuma Beach.

    A large fire also is burning in rural northern California.

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