Thousands flee as separate wildfires rip through California

Thousands flee as separate wildfires rip through California
Paradise lost: California community destroyed by wildfire
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.

Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, its that kind of devastation, said Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean late Thursday.

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)

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.

Wildfires also erupted in Southern California, with reports early Friday of two large fires scorching about 23 square miles (60 square kilometres) and threatening numerous communities. ABC7.com reported that 75,000 homes were under evacuation orders along the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

California wildfires leave at least 5 dead, cause unbelievable destruction

As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.

"There was really no firefight involved," said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, explaining that crews gave up on attacking the flames and instead helped people evacuate. "These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday."

Video: Very dangerous northern California wildfire blankets sky in thick, black smoke

Thousands flee California town devastated by wildfire

An Associated Press photographer saw dozens of businesses and homes leveled or in flames, including a liquor store and gas station.

Flames consume a car dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

So far, Calfire says “multiple” structures have burned, and several people have had to be treated for burns, though no fatalities have been reported as of yet. Around 30,000 customers are without power as a result of the fire.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Video: Camp Fire turns fatal in Paradise, California

Impenetrable Smoke, Embers From Camp Fire Adding To Chaos As California Town Burns

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.

Video: Driving through Paradise, California as the Camp Fire rages on

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.

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 15 square miles 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 neighbourhoods. A nearby blaze was smaller at about 2 square miles but moving quickly.

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.

PARADISE, Calif. — 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.

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.

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)

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.

Voluntary evacuations of 75,000 homes were called for because of the Woolsey Fire that included parts of Thousand Oaks in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, the site of a mass shooting incident this week in which 12 people were killed.

Fire officials said the flames were being fueled by winds, low humidity, dry air and severely parched brush and ground from months without rain.

In Northern California, the Camp Fire advanced rapidly to the outskirts of the city of Chico early on Friday, forcing thousands to flee after it left the nearby town of Paradise in ruins, California fire officials said.

Video Shows the Terrifying Drive to Escape Massive Fire in Paradise, California

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.

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.

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.

“The magnitude of the destruction is heartbreaking,” said Ghilarducci. “We know there have been injuries and that there have been loss of life. Were still accounting for that and working with our local authorities.”

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.

Earlier this year, wildfires raged through huge portions of California, claiming homes, businesses, and lives in the process. Those fires were eventually contained, but a new inferno which sparked up in Plumas National Forest this week has devastated tens of thousands of acres already, and it’s turned the town of Paradise, California, into a hellscape.

As a wildfire continues to rage in Northern California, one official gave a bleak update on the status of one town that was engulfed in flames.

“I feel very vulnerable posting this but I feel I should,” Brynn Chatfield, the Facebook poster, explains in the video’s description. “My hometown of Paradise is on fire. My family is evacuated and safe. Not all my friends are safe. It’s very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary.”

Hundreds trapped and thousands flee an area of northern California as blaze swells to 5,000 acres

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed. It's that kind of devastation," said Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean late Thursday.

California has declared a state of emergency due to the Camp Fire’s spread. It’s currently completely out of control, spreading at will with no containment. For a bit of perspective on how fast this fire is moving, CNN notes that it’s burning the equivalent of 80 football fields every minute. It’s a real monster.

McLean estimated that a couple of thousand structures were destroyed in the town of 27,000 residents located about 300 kilometres northeast of San Francisco.

By nightfall Thursday, it had consumed more than 73 square kilometres, and firefighters had no containment on the blaze, McLean said.

California Wildfires Map: Chico Camp Fire in Butte Latest to Erupt

By Friday afternoon, the fire had grown to 285 square kilometres, and investigators found five people dead in vehicles that were torched by the flames

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.

Tens of thousands of people were ordered to flee the fast-moving flames — dubbed the Camp Fire by officials.

PARADISE, Calif. — 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.

"It was absolutely dark," said resident Mike Molloy, who said he made a split decision based on the wind to leave Thursday morning, packing only the minimum and joining a sea of other vehicles.

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.

With Paradise located on a ridge and escape routes limited, traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock. Residents abandoned vehicles and ran from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said.

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.

Kim Kardashian forced to flee California wildfires as blaze becomes deadly and thousands evacuate

In the midst of the chaos, officials said they could not provide figures on the number of wounded, but County Cal Fire Chief Darren Read said at a news conference that at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.

"It's a very dangerous and very serious situation," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.

Northern California wildfire leaves town in ruins, thousands flee

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