Northern California wildfire leaves town in ruins, thousands flee

10 November, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Santa Ana Winds in the Forecast Ramping up Extreme Fire Threat in Southern California

The fire has grown to almost 110 square miles.

Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read said Thursday the destruction in the town of Paradise could be upward of a thousand structures.

Meanwhile, in Northern California, the even more destructive Camp Fire broke out north of Sacramento on Thursday, which is burning at a rate of about 80 football fields per minute and has forced the evacuation of 40,000 residents.

Firefighter Adrien Mahnke pauses while battling the Camp Fire as it tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

In less than 24 hours, the Camp Fire torched Paradise homes, - businesses, supermarkets, restaurants and a retirement home - was left "pretty much.destroyed", California Fire Capt. Scott McLean said.

Much of the downtown was destroyed.

Containment figures on the other two fires were not immediately available. Residents abandoned vehicles and ran from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said.

Many residents who fled their homes didn't get very far very fast, as traffic was snarled on the gridlocked roads leading out of town.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County.

The fire also injured three firefighters but the total casualty picture was not yet clear.

The stranger ended up helping Miller pack up her mother and taking them to safety in Chico.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea called it a "very unsafe and serious situation", AP reports, and noted that some residents have been forced to abandon their vehicles to escape the conflagration.

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The sheriff confirmed reports that evacuees had to abandon their vehicles.

On Friday morning, gruesomely burned cars littered the side of the road.

"We're working very hard to get people out".

"Everything was ignited by the time I got out of my house, everything was on fire", another person said.

Cal Fire's Bill Murphy says winds have calmed down in the valley but that there are "shifting, erratic winds" with speeds of up to 45mph (72 km/h) along ridge tops. "Once it got going it picked up very rapidly".

What has happened in northern California?

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Four hospital employees were briefly trapped in the basement and rescued by California Highway Patrol officers, Kinney said.

One woman, Kim Curtis, said she was searching for her grandmother, a woman in her 70s who had said she was fleeing with her cat but had failed to turn up at an arranged meeting point and was not contactable.

The fire in Southern California was being whipped up Thursday evening by powerful winds that pushed it through canyons and to the edge of Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands, both of which were evacuated, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The fires are just the latest in a more than year-long string of massive wildfires that have devastated California and rewritten the lists of the largest and deadliest blazes in state history.

Past year the Tubbs Fire in nearby Napa and Sonoma counties killed 22 people.

The brush fire was first reported around 6:30 AM Thursday morning and burned roughly 18,000 acres by midday Thursday. The utility cut power to 42,000 customers in October during similar dry, windy conditions.

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