A wildfire that tore through Malibu mansions and working-class suburban homes in Southern California's hills and canyons has killed two people and had more than doubled in size by Saturday, the AP reports. Officials took advantage of temporarily calm conditions to assess damage from the blaze that has burned 109 square miles north and west of downtown Los Angeles. Firefighters were searching burned-out neighborhoods for new destruction from two blazes that have already destroyed 150 homes. Los Angeles County sheriff's Chief John Benedict said two people have been found dead but provided no details on the deaths. Wildfires burning across California have now killed 11 people, including nine found dead in a massive fire in Northern California that destroyed the town of Paradise.
In the south, a smoky haze still hung in blue skies, with the vicious winds that drove the flames in their first two days gone and expected to stay away until Sunday. Firefighters scrambled in the narrow window of calm to try to block the two wildfires that have blazed a path of destruction toward the sea. In less than two days, the Hill and Woolsey fires had prompted evacuation orders for more than 250,000 people, including the entire city of Malibu. The lull Saturday could give firefighters a chance to control the edges of the blazes and to swap fire crews, replacing firefighters who had worked for two days without rest, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. But with the winds returning, it's likely more homes would be lost, Osby warned. "There's not going to be any relief in this firefight," he said. (Read about five bodies found in torched vehicles.)