Tens of Thousands of People Flee Fast-Moving California Wildfire

The Camp Fire scorched 5,000 acres in about three hours officials say

While no homes or businesses have been lost due to the fast-moving fire, a number of RVs and outbuildings have been burned and a firefighter suffered a minor injury, authorities said.

The flames swept through Paradise, which has about 26,000 residents, by about 8 a.m. Thursday and left a path of destruction in their wake.

A burning sign is seen outside Paradise Skilled Nursing home during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018.

Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, said the fire in Northern California's Butte County has "destroyed the town". "The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out".

"We have received reports of some fatalities, those reports have not yet been verified", Butte County Sheriff Kory Hones told a press conference.

Residents described fleeing their homes and then getting stuck on gridlocked roads as flames approached, sparking explosions and toppling utility poles.

She and her husband "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to alert as numerous residents of 53 mobile homes and recreational vehicles as possible, Bernacett said. "We're doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas".

About 3,300 students and staff members from Paradise's 11 schools were evacuated in buses and employees' cars to a center in Chico, Butte County Schools Superintendent Tim Taylor said. "I don't know. When I left it was all on fire".

A set of brushfires lashed Ventura County, prompting mandatory evacuations across Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Massive wildfires are tearing through parts of California, destroying hundreds buildings and forcing thousands of people from their homes. Residents awoke to the stench of smoke and the morning horizon drenched in an ashen-orange pallor that was hard to see or drive through, hindering evacuations.

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The San Francisco Chronicle reports that acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in 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".

Allana Hall said this marks the second time she has fled a California fire.

"We hope the winds will die down around midnight", he said.

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.

Local media reports have shown images of traffic moving away from the plumes of smoke and orange glow of the wildfire.

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.

One Paradise resident who fled the encroaching blaze told the Bee: "It was so hot".

Kelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband's 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from on Thursday morning.

Residents took to social media to share their views of the flames almost consuming the hillside in Newbury Park, which borders Thousands Oaks to the west.

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