Southern California wildfire threatens 30,000 homes, forces evacuations

Southern California wildfire threatens 30,000 homes, forces evacuations

Southern California wildfire threatens 30,000 homes, forces evacuations

Thick grey smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

Evacuation orders are in place for the town of Paradise, home to around 26,000 people, as well as Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley areas. He started putting out the fire and yelled at her to get back inside, she says.

The Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate a fast-moving wildfire that exploded in size Thursday, threatening several Northern California communities and forcing panicked residents to race to help neighbors and drive through walls of flames to escape. "We had to ride through flames to get here", he said from the road between Paradise and Chico. At one point, a tree branch fell on his auto, smashing his windshield and denting his hood.

"Things started exploding", said resident Gina Oviedo.

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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.

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

At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities and some buildings caught fire and were damaged. The hostpital's parent company could not be reached for comment. The blaze continued burning late Thursday, prompting authorities to evacuate residents near the Los Angeles County line.

Many people took to social media to register their distress. The department said 30,000 people had been evacuated in the area and as many as 30,000 homes were threatened.

"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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A fast-moving wildfire is rapidly spreading through northeastern California, growing to over 16,000 acres in under 12 hours and leading acting Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.

The Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise evacuated all its patients and staff, given its close proximity to the fire, and transported them safely to hospitals in neighboring towns, said Jill Kinney, an Adventist Health spokeswoman.

A red flag warning is in effect through Friday morning, meaning that firefighters face high winds and low humidity that help spread the wildfire. Wind gusts of 50 miles per hour were expected in many locations.

"Firefighters continue to be challenged with extreme fire and weather conditions including strong winds and with long range spotting", Cal Fire wrote on their website Thursday.

California has experienced debilitating fires of unprecedented regularity in the past few years. By 2:00 p.m. local time, it had grown to 18,000 acres, according to Cal Fire. It's already burned dozens of homes and threatens 30,000 more.

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