Camp Fire burns through Northern California

Santa Ana Winds in the Forecast Ramping up Extreme Fire Threat in Southern California

Some of the first responders that rushed to the scene of the second mass shooting in less than two weeks in the United States were also helping out with fire-related duties. Authorities shut down part of the 101 Freeway as plumes of smoke cascaded into the air on Thursday. Mandatory evacuations were in effect early Friday, and 30,000 homes were under threat from the blaze. Paradise itself is around 70 miles south of Redding, where the Carr Fire killed eight people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in July.

Late Thursday, more than 2,200 firefighters were battling the flames and the Camp Fire remains completely uncontained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Honea says resources are spread thin, but officials are "doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas".

"This fire is very unsafe, please evacuate if asked to do so!" "I'm driving through fire as we speak".

He estimated that a couple of thousand structures, including offices, large stores and restaurants in the 27,000 population town were flattened by the fire, although exact numbers are not known.

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

The wildfire was reported around daybreak. Within roughly six hours, the fire had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), said Gaddie.

Authorities fear the fire, fueled by strong winds, could reach Chico - a city of 90,000 people where many Butte County families already have evacuated to shelters.

Butte County Sherriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record that "it's bad". Emergency crews were working to help people evacuate there, he said. Several evacuation centers were set up in nearby towns.

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

Percifield said that he drove off the road a few times in the low visibility conditions but eventually made it to a meadow that is maintained for residents to gather in the event of fires. "People started getting out of their vehicles and running".

Many abandoned their cars on the side of the road, fleeing on foot.

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

A hospital and several schools were evacuated as thick grey smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

"We're getting them on other vehicles with room". However, on Thursday the place is very far from paradise: a rapidly growing wildfire encompassing 6,000 acres is closing in on the town, forcing its residents to drop everything and evacuate, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"It's very chaotic. It's a very bad fire", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol said of the evacuation.

"We've just been posting all over social media".

'My husband tried his best to get everybody out. "God help us!" Bernacett said before breaking down crying.

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