Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, its that kind of devastation, said Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean late Thursday.
McLean estimated that a couple of thousand structures were destroyed in the town of 27,000 residents about 290 kilometres northeast of San Francisco, where residents scrambled to flee. The extent of the injuries and specific damage count was not immediately known as officials could not access the dangerous area.
Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read said at a news conference that two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.
As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.
Video: Residents describe evacuating from Paradise as Camp Fire rages
An Associated Press photographer saw dozens of businesses and homes leveled or in flames, including a liquor store and gas station.
Video: Driving through Paradise, California as the Camp Fire rages on
Flames consume a car dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.
Associated Press writers Paul Elias, Jocelyn Gecker, Janie Har, Daisy Nguyen, Olga R. Rodriguez, Sudhin Thanawala and Juliet Williams in San Francisco, Sophia Bollag in Sacramento and Jennifer Sinco Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.
California wildfire leaves town in ruins, thousands flee
Its a very dangerous and very serious situation, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. Im driving through fire as we speak. Were doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas.
Flames climb trees as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Tens of thousands of people fled a fast-moving wildfire Thursday in Northern California, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that forced the evacuation of an entire town and destroyed hundreds of structures. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
The blaze erupted as windy weather swept the state, creating extreme fire danger. A wind-whipped fire north of Los Angeles in Ventura County burned up to 39 square kilometres and at least one home in a matter of hours. It threatened thousands of homes and prompted evacuations of a mobile home park, a state university campus and some neighborhoods. A nearby blaze was smaller at about 5 square kilometres but moving quickly.
The entire town was ordered evacuated, setting off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got struck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their cars to flee foot. People in Paradise reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement centre.
Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California and requested a presidential disaster declaration, saying that dangerous weather conditions were expected to last several days.
Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage. He knocked on doors, yelled and screamed to alert as many residents as possible, Bernacett said.
Impenetrable Smoke, Embers From Camp Fire Adding To Chaos As California Town Burns
My husband tried his best to get everybody out. The whole hills on fire. God help us! she said before breaking down crying. She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety, she said.
Heroism, harrowing escapes as fire destroys California town
Terrifying videos posted on social media showed cars driving along roads that looked like tunnels of fire with flames on both sides of the road.
Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire
Concerned friends and family posted frantic messages on Twitter and other sites saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone.
Among them was Kim Curtis, who was searching for her grandmother, who told family at 8 a.m. Thursday that she would flee her Paradise home in her Buick with her cat. Her grandmother, who is in her 70s and lives alone, never showed up up at a meeting spot in Chico, though.
Weve just been posting all over social media. And just praying for a miracle, honestly, said Curtis, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming, he said. There are dozens of strike teams that were bringing in from all parts of the state.
The sheriff confirmed reports that evacuees had to abandon their vehicles. Rescuers were trying to put them in other vehicles, he said.
Were working very hard to get people out. The message I want to get out is: If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate, Honea said.
The wildfire was reported around daybreak. Within six hours, it had grown to more than 69 square kilometers, Gaddie said.
Thursday, November 8, 2018, 6:10 PM – Thousands of people in California have had to flee ahead of a wildfire that has consumed thousands of hectares of land and continues to grow, courtesy of strong winds. Known as the Camp Fire, the blaze is burning in Butte County, in central California north of the state capital Sacramento. It began early Thursday morning, and and grew so rapidly that it reached some 18,000 acres (7,200 hectares) as of Thursday afternoon. As of Thursday evening, it remained zero per cent contained.
Fire officials said the flames were being fueled by winds, low humidity, dry air and severely parched brush and ground from months without rain.
Basically, we havent had rain since last May or before that, said Read, the fire chief. Everything is a very receptive fuel bed. Its a rapid rate of spread.
27000 People Told to Evacuate California Town of Paradise Due to Impending Wildfire
At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities and some buildings caught fire and were damaged. But the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokeswoman Jill Kinney said.
Pretty much destroyed: California forest fires devastate towns
Some of the patients were initially turned around during their evacuation because of gridlocked traffic and later airlifted to other hospitals, along with staff, Kinney said.
Four hospital employees were briefly trapped in the basement and rescued by California Highway Patrol officers, Kinney said.
Large fire in California forces tens of thousands to evacuate
The National Weather Service issued red-flag warnings for fire dangers in many areas of the state, saying low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through Friday evening.
The wildfires that are ripping through parts of California have left at least five people dead and caused "unbelievable" destruction, officials say.
In a video posted to Facebook by a resident, the blaze can be seen destroying everything in its path. No tree or structure appears to be spared, but the driver and passengers manage to escape successfully.
"We know there have been injuries, and we know there has been loss of life," said Mark Ghilarducci, of California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, during a news conference Friday.
Friday, November 9, 2018, 9:59 AM – Three fast-moving wildfires burned in California on Friday morning, including one that spurred the evacuation of 75,000 homes near a city that was still reeling from a mass shooting. (SEE ALSO: One of Iqaluits 2 grocery stores burns down, vital source)
He said the number of deaths was not yet known, but police later said five people were found dead in vehicles that had burned in the Northern California fire.
Northern California Wildfire Nearly Quadruples in Size
The Butte County Sheriff's Office said Friday the victims were found in the same area in the town of Paradise, which was devastated by a fast-moving wildfire.
Ghilarducci said the priorities for now are to support firefighting and lifesaving operations, with the next priority being getting people out of affected areas and into shelters.
More than 6,000 firefighters were on firelines across the state on Friday morning, a top Cal Fire official said. There were six major fires burning Friday, but the three major fires officials were most concerned about were:
In northern California, the fast-moving Camp Fire quadrupled in size overnight, to nearly 285 square kilometres, according to Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
On Friday, the blaze spread north, prompting officials to order the evacuation of Stirling City and Inskip, two communities along the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services, said at a press briefing Friday that the Butte County blaze has been “an extremely challenging fire and has resulted in significant and catastrophic loss,” especially to the community of Paradise located just outside Chico.
The wind-driven blaze also spread to the west and reached the edge of Chico, a city of 90,000 people. Firefighters were able to stop the flames at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place Friday, said Cal Fire Cpt. Bill Murphy said.
The entire town was ordered evacuated, setting off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got struck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their cars to flee on foot. People in Paradise reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement centre.
"The town is devastated; everything is destroyed. There's nothing much left standing," McLean said.
Reporter Laura Anthony, of the local ABC station KGO, shot video of a "firenado" in Paradise on Thursday.
Paradise Lost: The Camp Fire Has Reportedly Burned an Entire Town to the Ground
"We were surrounded by fire. We were driving through fire on each side of the road," said police officer Mark Bass, who lives in Paradise and works in Chico.
He evacuated his family and then returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man trying to carry his bedridden wife to safety. "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us."
Whole town is burning: Residents flee Northern California wildfire
Rescuers used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out the way to reach Feather River Hospital and evacuate patients as flames engulfed the building, Butte County supervisor Doug Teeter told reporters.
McLean estimated that a couple of thousand structures were destroyed in the town of 27,000 residents about 180 miles (290 kilometres) northeast of San Francisco, was ordered to get out. The extent of the injuries and specific damage count was not immediately known as officials could not access the dangerous area.
Truck driver braves wall of fire, falling trees and burning ash to escape California wildfires
McLean said an as yet unspecified number of civilians and firefighters had been injured, and that it could be days before authorities would know whether anyone had died.
On social media, many posted information about missing loved ones. They had help from actor James Woods, who stayed up all night reposting the pleas, as well as news of family members found safe and reunited under the hashtag #CampFireJamesWoods.
As the sun rose in California, people from all over the state posted photos of dark skies full of smoke and ash, and the state issued air quality warnings for some areas.
California's governor-elect, Gavin Newsom, declared a state of emergency in Ventura and Los Angeles counties Friday. He had already done so in Butte County, in the north, on Thursday.
Meanwhile, portions of Southern California remained under siege early Friday as two large fires threatened many Ventura County communities. The National Weather Service issued red-flag warnings for fire dangers in many areas of the state, saying low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through the evening.
The Woolsey Fire, which began overnight, covered more than 3,000 hectares Friday morning and was threatening 75,000 homes, the Ventura County Fire Department said on Twitter, adding there had been no reports of fatalities or severe injuries as yet.
Patients Rescued From Burning Hospital In Butte County
Actor Rainn Wilson said that residents of Thousand Oaks, still reeling from a Wednesday night shooting in which a gunman killed 12 people at a bar before killing himself, were now having to flee their homes.
California wildfires: Tens of thousands forced to flee as entire city pretty much destroyed by blaze
The two fires burning just northwest of Los Angeles were zero per cent contained, and mandatory evacuations were in place for L.A. County and Ventura County. As the fires advanced south toward L.A., officials also ordered the evacuation of the California beachside community of Malibu, a well-to-do community of about 13,000.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted that the fire was headed to the ocean, punctuating the message with the declaration: "Imminent threat!"
Office Of Emergency Services Receives FEMA Grant To Battle Camp Fire In Butte County
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