Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Raging wildfire reduces California town to ashes

Massive wind-fueled fire threatens NorCal town of Paradise PARADISE EVACUATED: Fast-Growing Butte County Fire Has Already Burned 5000 Acres
Kenny Thornton | 09 November, 2018, 17:05

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 who had to drive through walls of flames to escape.

"I'm on the phone crying, talking to my husband, just hoping I can get out of there", she said. Other patients were taken to Oroville Hospital in the city of Oroville.

A vintage auto rests among debris as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise.

In October 2017, some 21 wildfires burned almost 95,000 acres and 7,000 buildings in Sonoma and Napa counties in the heart of California's wine country, killing 40 people.

The 5,000-acre fire started off Camp Creek Road and Pulga Road, Jarbo Gap, off state Highway 70 in Feather River Canyon, according to FOX 40. "We had to ride through flames to get here", he said from the road between Paradise and Chico.

The Butte County Sheriff's office said an evacuation order was issued for areas of Paradise, a town of about 27 000 people.

"Things started exploding", Oviedo said. More evacuations are expected.

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.

A red flag warning is in effect through Friday morning, meaning that firefighters face high winds and low humidity that help spread the wildfire.

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The fire and evacuations led to gridlock traffic in Paradise, and multiple drivers abandoned their vehicles, Sacramento Bee reported.

Resident Shari Bernacett told the Associated Press she "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to get mobile home residents in her area to leave as fire consumed the hillside.

Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou Herrera, left a frantic voicemail at around 9:30 a.m. saying they needed to get out.

Travel was limited on U.S. Highway 101 in Ventura County, state highway patrol troopers said.

Morgan Mason said her father told her that he could hear propane tanks blowing up all over Paradise this morning.

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.

"It's got all the right conditions to have grown very large, very quickly", said Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart.

The challenging fire conditions are expected to continue Friday in Southern California where wind alerts and red flag warnings have been issued and wind gusts could reach 70 miles per hour and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent.

County Fire Chief, Darren Read said the town of Chico, with population of 93,000, could be next in the path of the wildfire.

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