Driving through Paradise, California as the Camp Fire rages on

Evacuations ordered in Northern California as fast-moving wildfire spreads

The fire has grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers). During the height of the blaze, firefighters completely surrendered firefighting duties in order to focus on rescuing people.

"Fire crews asking for buses to get them out", he reported.

The Paradise fire is known as the Camp fire in California, and has now raged across 31 miles (20,000 acres) of the state.

A fast-moving wildfire roared through a Northern California town on Thursday, with deaths reported as it burned a hospital, hundreds of homes and sent tens of thousands of people fleeing flames in cars and on foot, authorities said.

There are evacuation orders for Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley.

The National Weather Service now predicts heavy winds throughout Friday morning could potentially help spread the blaze.

There are multiple injuries because of the Camp Fire, Cal Fire spokesman John Gaddie said.

Wind in the valley calmed down, but they were still shifting and erratic along the ridgetops, with speeds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 kph), he said.

The extent of people's injuries was not immediately known as officials could not access the risky area, 180 miles northeast of San Francisco. That assessment was echoed by Scott McLean, a spokesperson for CALFIRE, who told the Los Angeles Times that the Camp Fire "has destroyed the town".

"We're talking devastated", McLean said.

Wildfires also erupted in Southern California.

More worrying is the Woolsey Fire, which threatens about 75,000 homes in both Ventura and Los Angeles Counties - including the entire city of Malibu.

The flames swept through Paradise, which has about 26,000 residents, by about 8 a.m. Thursday and left a path of destruction in their wake.

A wildfire in Northern California's Sierra Nevada foothills quadrupled in size late Thursday as winds threaten to make it spread faster.

"Imminent threat!" the department said in its warning.

Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richardson says 45,000 people in Ventura County and 43,000 more in Los Angeles County were ordered to evacuate overnight.

The fire then pushed south, jumped the 101 freeway on Friday morning and pushed into the Santa Monica range.

Fire officials said they expect those two fires to burn all the way to the ocean. The fire destroyed about 1,000 structures in Paradise, including a church and some buildings at a local hospital, according to Cal Fire and interviews with residents.

As CNN points out, over 2200 firefighters are now battling the Camp Fire and they face a tough road ahead.

The school closures cover all districts in the county, including those in Paradise, Chico, Oroville and the Butte County Office of Education as well. The message I want to get out is: "If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate".

As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles. "People were abandoning their cars and running with their babies and kids". As of Friday morning, numerous roads leading out of town were closed.

Laura Anthony witnessed the fire whirl, a whirlwind caused by fire and consisting of flame or ash, on the outskirts of Paradise on Thursday.

"It's a worst-case scenario", Bass said.

Cars and trucks, some with trailers attached, were left on the roadside as evacuees ran for their lives, said Bass.

"Most of them were immobile, with walkers or spouses that were bedridden, so we were trying to get additional units to come and try and help us, just taking as many as we could", he said. By 8.20 am, the house was burning'.

Another neighbor said the fire was "like a freight train" and praised firefighters for saving so many homes.



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