Thousands evacuated over fast-moving California wildfire

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

Flames consume a building as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, California.

Fortune will continue to update this post as California's 2018 fires continue to rage.

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. "The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out". He said he did not know the number of injuries or how many structures were destroyed.

Evacuations were ordered for the Butte towns of Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley, fire officials said.

Flames were engulfing homes, utility poles were crashing down and things were exploding, she said.

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". At one point, the unrelenting flames burned about 2,000 acres per hour taking down everything - big box stores, homes, and businesses - in its path.

Butte County Sherriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record that "it's bad". "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us". We're working very hard to get people out.

A wildfire is hopscotching across a northern California county at a rate of roughly 80 football fields per minute, forcing evacuations, injuring residents and sending families racing from their homes.

A former U.S. Marine combat veteran opened fire in a bar packed with college students in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday, killing 12 people in an incident that stunned a bucolic community with a reputation for safety.

"This is the type of situation where, if a fire starts, it can spread rapidly", May said.

With limited escape routes from the town, which is built on a ridge, traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock, with residents forced to abandon vehicles and run from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said.

"When this fire started this morning wind speeds were 35 to 40 miles per hour gusts", Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff said.

"We're talking devastated", McLean 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.

Many people took to social media to register their distress. "And just praying for a miracle, honestly", said Curtis, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The full extent of the destruction is still unknown but authorities believe up to 1,000 structures have been destroyed and most of those were in Paradise, a Cal Fire spokesman said.

'Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming, ' he said.

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