Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Deaths feared as wildfire engulfs North California town

Deaths feared as wildfire engulfs North California town

Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate a fast-moving wildfire that exploded in size today, threatening several Northern California communities. Fire officials said some structures have been destroyed in addition to injuries.

A statue sits on the deck of a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through the area on November 8, 2018 in Paradise, California.

Medical personnel evacuate patients from the the Feather River Hospital.

Colton Percifield, 20, said in an interview that he awoke at friend's house in Concow to find smoke outside around 7 a.m. Spot fires soon encroached on the house. The extent of the injuries and specific damage count was not immediately known as officials could not access the risky area.

Evacuation warnings were issued for the area west of Highway 99 form 149 north to the Chico city limits and west to the Midway, and Highway 32 at Nople the Butte County Line earlier. To make matters worse, as the flames approached, they sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.

"I hope people got out".

An Associated Press photographer saw dozens businesses and homes leveled or in flames, including a liquor store and gas station. "I don't know. When I left it was all on fire".

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Fire authorities did not indicate how the blaze started.

Evacuation notices were set for homes on the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people situated about 90 miles (145 km) north of Sacramento.

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.

Acting Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Butte County. He "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to alert as many residents as possible, Bernacett said.

'My husband tried his best to get everybody out.

Farther south in the Los Angeles region, the Woolsey and Hill Fires were whipped up Thursday evening by powerful winds that pushed them through canyons and to the edge of Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands, both of which were evacuated, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This photo taken from video provided by CBS2/KCAL9 shows a wildfire burning in Camarillo.

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A sheriff's spokesperson says about 27,000 people were told to flee from the town of Paradise.

Officials said that they had heard reports of fatalities but that they could not yet access the affected areas to confirm those reports.

"Right now, Mother Nature is in charge", Bennett said. Multiple motorists have abandoned their vehicles.

'We're getting them on other vehicles with room. It's very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary. "That's when I chose to get out". Within six hours, it had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), Gaddie said.

Thick grey smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away. Drought-stricken fuels, Santa Ana wind conditions, low relative humidity, high temperatures: "it's a recipe for fire", said Ventura County Fire Department Assistant Chief Chad Cook.

"We're talking devastated", McLean said. "It's a rapid rate of spread".

An elementary school in the region was also forced to evacuate students after the fire came within half a mile of the campus, according to CNN.

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