this is "nightline." >> tonight -- >> go, go, go, go, go. >> inside the inferno. intense wildfires across california already claiming lives. turning entire cities and cultural symbols to ash. >> i'm so scared. >> as citizens and instagraming celebrities make their escape. >> they're evacuating everyone right now. >> what's next for the golden state as the battles rage on? plus sharing strength with our soldiers. michael strahan and sara haines taking us inside the gym serving a bigger cause. >> this is my tribe. this is what i've been looking for this whole time. >> from workouts to therapy sessions. how this fitness center, catering to l.a.'s stars, also provides a lifeline forilitary
veter veterans. becoming michelle. robin roberts' exclusive interview with michelle obama. the former first lady revealing her private fight for her family and why she will never forgive president trump. but first the "nightline 5." >> thanks to move free ultra two in one, i keep up with this little one. see the world with this guy. hit the town with these girls. >> in a clinical study, 4 out of 5 users felt better joint comfort. move free ultra, movement keeps us connected. new theraflu power pods. the cold and flu fighting machine you put in your machine. press the button to brew up powerful relief, to defeat your toughest cold and flu symptoms fast. power pods. press, sip, relief.
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good s. tonight, california is still under the grip of intense wildfires. much of the region quickly turning into a hellish landscape. entire cities swallowed by the flames and lives already lost. here's abc's clayton sandell. >> heavenly father, please help us. >> reporter: for the chatfield family, all they could do was pray. >> please help us to be safe. i'm thankful for jeremy and his willingness to be brave -- >> reporter: as they sped through flames chewing through their northern california neighborhood, so many following their path. >> move, people. >> all those homes gone. >> i feel the heat. >> go, go, go, go. >> we're not going to catch on fire, okay? >> reporter: they escaped in time, but others in the town of paradise would not. >> southbound from feather river hospital on pence is all blocked by fire. >> reporter: nurse tamara
ferguson. trapped at work, she posted this terrifying video, along with a good-bye letter, writing, to all my friends and family, especially john and my kids, i love you with all my heart, i am trapped in this horrific fire and can't get out. >> any units, feather river hospital, we've got four people trapped in the basement. >> reporter: police arrived right on time, rescuing her and the others trapped in that basement. >> i'm so scared. >> reporter: this hellish nightmare began thursday, quickly gaining momentum, and now an entire town has been reduced to ashes. this fire is now the fourth most destructive in california's history. >> we lost everything. trailers, all our belongings. now we're on grinding rock, just trying to save everybody else's stuff. >> reporter: today officials announcing their worst fears, nine residents here did not make it. some of their bodies found in cars after being overtaken by flames. that number could climb given that conditions are still too unstable for firefighters to conduct door-to-door searches.
the mayor of the city, jody jones, urging residents to not surrender. >> i don't know what we're going to be faced with in the next few days, but we will rise from the ashes, so to speak, we will rebuild, and we'll be better than ever. >> oh my god, the tree's burning right next to us, oh geez. >> reporter: the fire in paradise one of over a dozen active fires burning across the state. >> oh my god. >> reporter: as of tonight, over 100,000 acres in flames and over 150,000 people evacuated across the state. down in southern california, two major wildfires. the hill fire, and the woolsey fire, just miles from one another. a third fire threatening landmarks, coming within miles of the los angeles zoo. closed for the day as officials put some of the smaller animals in cages and evacuated them. some landmarks like the historic paramount ranch studios, housing the set used in productions like "west world," destroyed. also today the famed bachelor
house in the fire's path. flames reaching celebrity-filled neighborhoods. among those forced to flee, kim kardashian west. >> they're evacuating everyone right now from all of our homes. >> reporter: in malibu, caitlyn jenner telling fans on instagram she's safe. >> don't know if the house made it or not. >> reporter: the woolsey fire reaching the home featured in her reality show "i am cait." >> hey, baby. >> reporter: firefighters combat flames in hand to hose, house to house-combat across the once-idyllic mall due canyon. local officials in the area called today for all residents to evacuate immediately. >> the devastation here, you can see it. this home was fully engulfed, now it's starting to collapse. this is what firefighters are up against. we've heard explosions from inside this house and i think we're going to move down the street to a little bit of safety here. >> california's become a 365-day
season except for rainy days. then that presents problems too based on the fire and the fuel and possible debris flows after that. >> almost like when there's a fire, there's a super-fire. >> we have a lot of structures here. we have a lot to get consumed, a lot of acreage. >> three people trapped in a house -- >> reporter: we met ashley snodgrass minutes after she and her boyfriend escaped their home. >> we were watching it all night with december messages, we method it wouldn't come this far, and it happened so fast. >> reporter: she has all she needs, she says, her boyfriend and three dogs. >> there's nothing they can do. >> you think your house are on fire now? >> yes. >> reporter: calabasas resident adrian documenting the fire's march to her front door. >> it's almost 5:30 in the morning. this is the side of my house which is pretty much almost gone. this is crazy.
i don't even know what to say right now. but the firefighters saved my home. and i am so grateful. but my whole neighborhood is gone. >> reporter: and in the neighborhood of thousand oaks, the fire is compounding the anguish of a community still reeling from wednesday's mass shooting. in a surreal moment, a reunification center for mourning families quickly turned into an evacuation center as the fire began consuming the area. >> there is no panic at the hotel here in ventura county. you can see there's exits. our hotel is under a mandatory evacuation. you see the lobby full of people. people are absolutely panicked. they have their pets, they've been evacuated from their homes. >> reporter: glen mcdonald, a wildfire and climate change expert at ucla, forced to evacuate his own home in thousand oaks today. >> i am unbelievably anxious right now. unbelievably anxious. and even though i talk about this a lot, i have to tell you, when you're actually in the middle of it, it's a different animal. >> reporter: the scientist
coming face-to-face with the brutal reality behind his research. >> as we drove away from our home, there's this feeling of imminent loss. you look in that rear-view mirror, you see that red sky, you know that that fire is on the ridgeline immediately behind your home. i've written about it, i've studied it. you have to be there to understand how anxious that is. >> reporter: mcdonald says fires like this are fast becoming california's new normal. >> here on the coast, particularly in southern california, we're going for the year-round fire season now. look at the 21st century. 15 of our 20 largest wildfires have occurred since the year 2000. this isn't a one-off, this is part of a pattern. >> reporter: 2017 was among the most destructive years on record for california wildfires, with more than 9,000 fires burning 1.2 million acres, according to cal fire. so far, 2018 is shaping up to be even worse, with more than 1.3 million acres already burned. >> based on where we're going with temperatures because of
increasing greenhouse gases, we're going to have drier and drier summers. i can't see the situation getting better. if anything, it's getting worse. studies suggest by the year 2100, the state will see a 77% increase in wild land fires. we're not on a good trajectory and we can already trace that. >> reporter: in addition to climate change, mcdonald says california's fires are worse because people are building more homes in fire-prone areas. >> it's the way we've configured our cities. almost anywhere you're going to develop, particularly in southern california, you're going to be adjacent to flammable fuels. if you're living here, even if you're in a suburb like that, you've got to have a fire evacuation plan. you've got to know what you're going to do, where you're going to go, what you're going to take with you. you can't fool around here. >> reporter: tonight the battle rages on as first responders continue working around the clock to save whatever they can. for "nightline," i'm clayton sandell in thousand oaks, california. next, michael strahan and
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rendon and 38-year-old a.j. perez are more than sparring partners. they are brothers. not biological but the type born through service to this country. a.j. served in the navy doing anti-piracy ops. david spent 12 years in the army, two of them in iraq and kuwait. they credit this gym with saving their lives. unbreakable gym in l.a., gym to star clientele like chris pratt, wiz khalifa, and sylvester stallone. but according to the gym's owner and sports commentator, jay glazer, their most important clientele are veterans. >> they're the smartest group of people you will ever be around. every single week i leave here, i'll call and family and friends go, oh my hear what this vet said what that vet said. >> two minutes left! >> jay creates a program called mvp, merging vets and players to provide veterans and former
athletes with a new squad. >> started with nfl players, now spanning all sports, and ex-combat vets, you need to realize the uniform doesn't define you. >> reporter: our new york giants defensive end michael strahan is a board member and a volunteer here. >> just guys that have a loss. they don't have that group to go to because your life was always so structured and regimented, and all of a sudden you're released into the world without the structure and the guys to back it up and talk to and communicate with. that's the challenge for most athletes and definitely for most soldiers. >> reporter: jay realized both veterans and former athletes were struggling to reacclimate to civilian life. >> a lot of these guys when they're done, they have the same statement that our vets do, i'm alone. you're not alone. >> reporter: once a week elite men and women descend upon this gym for an intense workout. >> someone needs some help, someone needs to share something? >> reporter: followed by a peer therapy session. >> i myself have attempted suicide three times.
went there the bottom, now i'm here. >> the ultimate mission, number one, is 22 vets a day who commit suicide. i'm going to try to do whatever i can, use this big mouth to get people to know it's not okay. we're out here for you. >> reporter: for many of the vets in this room, this has become their lifeline. >> you can't do it alone. and it doesn't mean that you're weak to ask for help. that's strength. >> beautiful day. no clouds either. >> reporter: david credits it with saving his life. >> i like coming up here. it reminds me of when i was depressed, cooped up, dealing with ptsd and anxiety. this tunnel kind of represents that dark period of time i went through. >> reporter: after 12 years in the army, david was forced to retire. injured in an accident, he was no longer deployable. >> you see stuff, you see things that stay with you. one day i just broke. all my symptoms just came. the sleepless nights, the nightmares, the cold sweats, the
cramping. i didn't understand what was going on. i lost myself. >> reporter: david was suffering severe ptsd and withdrawals from pain pills. >> what's the point of living like this? >> i was afraid that he was going to take his life. >> reporter: it was his brother, ever, that took him to the v.a. to get treatment, but his troubles didn't end there. slowly the depression crept back in. he began hiking as a way to keep himself occupied. but he couldn't keep the bad thoughts at bay. >> i didn't know where else to go, i didn't know what else to do. i was feeling lonely again. i needed that camaraderie again. >> that's where mvp came in. >> i can't describe it sometimes. this place is -- has done so much for my personal growth, mental health -- >> reporter: it's here that david met a.j. a.j. joined the navy straight out of high school. when he left four years later -- >> that's i think when it hit me. i was like, i no longer have access to base. my entire world just disappeared. and i was like, oh.
>> reporter: having never interviewed for a job, and not knowing how to write a resume, he really struggled to set up a new life. he spent the next few years bouncing between jobs, depending upon the kindness of friends to feed and house him. >> it really feels like quicksand. and it just feels like you're grabbing on to all these different branchs and each one just snaps and you're sinking lower and lower. >> reporter: a friend introduced him to mvp. >> i checked it out and i fell in love with it immediately. i immediately recognized, this is my tribe. i finally found that branch. that one branch that i've been looking for for so long. i finally found it. not only did i grab it, but it pulled me up. >> reporter: he is now the program coordinator at mvp. here you'll find the story of a changed life over and over again. >> one of the guys that i was deployed with in iraq had committed suicide.
and it really hit close to home for me. because i'd been in that place less than a year before. >> i'm struggling to get my wife through what has been by far the hardest year in her life. >> just got eight months over. >> what allows people to open up? you see a bunch of mostly men, women too, working out. why do the walls fall down the second you guys all sit down together? >> after working out, when you go through something, when you sweat with somebody, do something that's difficult, you cheer each other on to not give. you're more receptive to opening and up saying, hey, thank you, i needed that today. all of a sudden it's a ripple effect. >> reporter: that ripple effect extends far beyond the vets. >> when you see each other, it's family. something about the commitment that you know you've had to make that not everybody's cut out to do. we are truly all brothers in one way or the other.
you did it unselfishly so that guys like me and the rest of us could go out and run around in tight-ass pants and hit each other. i'm just happy and honored that e here to witness this. so thank you guys for letting us be a part of your day. overwhelmed, filled with great debt of gratitude. for "nightline," i'm sara haines in los angeles. and next, michelle obama revealing her hidden pain and why she can never forgive president trump. ident trump. touch shows how we really feel. but does psoriasis ever get in the way? embrace the chance of 100% clear skin with taltz, the first and only treatment of its kind offering people with moderate to severe psoriasis a chance at 100% clear skin. with taltz, up to 90% of people quickly saw
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when you bundle both, and ask how you can save on your wireless bill when you include xfinity mobile click, call or visit a store today. finally tonight, the abc news exclusive. robin roberts one on one with michelle obama. former first lady michelle obama says she's opening up about her difficulties getting pregnant to help others. >> it's a struggle many couples go through, fertility. >> yes. >> you wrote about a miscarriage. >> i felt lost and alone, and i
felt like i failed. because i didn't know how common miscarriages were. because we don't talk about them. >> reporter: it was with the help of infertility treatments that malia and sasha were conceived. >> i realized that as i was 34, 35, we had to do ivf. >> reporter: in "becoming" michelle writes about a time period a few years after they moved into the white house when she was particularly worried for her family's safety. donald trump and other so-called birthers were questioning whether her husband was an american citizen. something she describes as mean-spirited and dangerous. >> what if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to washington? what if that person went looking for our girls? donald trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family's safety at risk. and for this, i'd never forgive