Massive California fires destroy town, Malibu ordered to evacuate

Erika Holt
November 10, 2018

The Camp Fire in Northern California exploded in size Thursday, burning about 20,000 acres and overtaking the town of Paradise, where around 30,000 people were forced to evacuate at the last minute.

The fast-moving fire forced startled residents trying to evacuate to abandon their vehicles and flee the town by foot, according to the AP, citing Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea. By nightfall, it had consumed more than 28 square miles and firefighters had no containment, McLean said. He estimated the Camp Fire burned a couple of thousand structures to the ground in the town of 27,000 people, about 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Bass is an officer in the nearby town of Chico.

"There had been no planning", said Peggy Musgrave, 85, who escaped the wrath of that fire only to find herself in gridlock again Thursday, joined by thousands of Paradise residents fleeing another raging fire.

Footage he captured showed the hellish conditions he faced as he battled through thick smoke with heat engulfing the truck as the temperature rose inside the vehicle as giant sparks, flames covered the burning road and covered the roof.

At the moment the fire is in Butte county, powering through Paradise City and under watch from the Paradise Police Department.

One particular wildfire, the Paradise fire, has been particularly devastating.

Medical personnel evacuate patients from the the Feather River Hospital.

The California Highway Patrol reversed traffic lanes along Interstates 99 and 149 throughout the day to allow evacuees to flee the 'Camp Fire'.

"God help us!" she said before breaking down crying.

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In just 24 hours, the disastrous Camp Fire in Northern California has burned at the rate of nearly an acre per second and scorched an area more than twice the size of San Francisco.

A local fire official said there were multiple injuries among civilians and firefighters.

Cal Fire officials warned that the blaze could enter the city of Chico, a college town of about 93,000 about six miles from Paradise.

Still, other Paradise residents were critical - not of the traffic jams that ensued, but of what they said was a lack of warning to get out in the first place.

Nicole Kowalczyke, of Chico, said she saw a "very ominous" outside her house.

Concerned friends and family posted frantic messages on Twitter and other sites saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone.

Another fire northwest of Los Angeles has been swept southward toward the ocean by strong Santa Ana winds. Paradise itself is around 70 miles south of Redding, where the Carr Fire killed eight people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in July.

The Camp Fire has burned more than 5,000 acres and is still very active as it is wind driven.

Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richardson says 45,000 people in Ventura County and 43,000 more in Los Angeles County were ordered to evacuate overnight.

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