Town of Paradise ordered evacuated for fire


A fast-moving wildfire roared through a Northern California town on Thursday, with reports of fatalities as it engulfed dozens of buildings and tens of thousands of people fled the flames, police and state authorities said.

The Camp Fire began early Thursday morning near Camp Creek Road and Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon.

The Butte County Sheriff's office says an evacuation order was issued for areas of Paradise, a town of about 27,000 people 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Bernacett said she and her husband "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to alert as numerous residents of 53 mobile homes and recreational vehicles as possible to leave the area Thursday morning as authorities ordered the area evacuated.

The Redding Record-Searchlight reports that the evacuations have resulted in gridlock traffic on Skyway, the main route connecting Paradise and Chico, as people attempt to flee the area. Multiple motorists have abandoned their vehicles.

Fire officials characterized the inferno as explosive.

"They need time to prepare", she said.

"It's very chaotic. It's a very bad fire", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol said of the evacuation. Emergency crews were working to help people evacuate there, he said.

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Google Maps continues to update its 2018 California fire map on the various blazes, as well as a Google Crisis Map with information about specific California wildfires including the Camp Fire.

Shary Bernacett says she and her husband tried to get people to leave the mobile home park they manage in Paradise, California, with just minutes to evacuate as a wildfire approached the east side of town.

She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety on Highway 99, she said.

"Given the Butte County fire is within close proximity, as a precaution Adventist Health Feather River Medical Center is evacuating all patients".

By 10 a.m., the fire scorched 5,000 acres (about 8 square miles).

In Chico, west of the fire, resident Tina Greer said the care home where her disabled son lives with five other patients was evacuating.

Greer said heavy ash was falling in Chico.

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.