Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

California wildfire roars to life, forces thousands to flee

California wildfire roars to life, forces thousands to flee

Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, said the fire in Northern California's Butte County has "destroyed the town".

Evacuation orders are in place for Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley while hundreds of firefighters battle the blaze.

The fire started around 6:30 a.m.

Medical personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., today. "We were able to get them home pretty quick", he said.

Camp Fire in Butte County.

Fueled by winds, the fire rapidly spread and by 2 p.m.it enveloped about 18,000 acres, officials said. She said a group of 20 other patients were initially evacuated but then returned to the facility because of gridlocked traffic.

The Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise evacuated staff and 41 patients to other hospitals, given its close proximity to the fire, said Jill Kinney, an Adventist Health spokeswoman.

Shelley Freeman says her family and friends scrambled to evacuate in Northern California as a fast-moving fire approached. "By the time we got out, the flames were a half mile away from the school. We tried to get all the nondigital things that we could - you know, stuff that couldn't be replaced", Peete said.

Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage.

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A wildfire in Northern California has grown to almost 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) as officials rush to evacuate residents.

Evacuated hospital patients are being taken to hospitals throughout the region. "God help us!" Bernacett said before breaking down crying.

The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 70 near the fire and urged motorists to avoid the area.

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.

Cal Fire said Wednesday that a Red Flag Warning was issued for most of Northern California's interior as well as parts of Southern California through Friday morning.

The "Camp Fire" - as named by local officials - is expected to grow because of high winds and current dry conditions in the area.

Gusty winds and low humidity were among the factors that led to the warning.

As of Thursday afternoon, two firefighters and multiple civilians had been injured, while a significant number of structures were consumed, according to Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read.

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