Wind-Driven Camp Fire Barrels Through Northern California's Butte County

Wind-Driven Camp Fire Barrels Through Northern California's Butte County

Evacuations were underway as firefighters battled a massive blaze, dubbed the Camp Fire, that was threatening the town of Paradise in Butte County Thursday, officials said. Over the course of the day, evacuation orders were issued in Paradise, Concow, and Pulga, towns about 200 miles north of San Francisco.

PARADISE, Calif. Tens of thousands of people fled a fast-moving wildfire today in Northern California, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that forced the evacuation of an entire town and destroyed hundreds of structures. As of approximately 2:30 p.m., Cal Fire's Butte unit reported zero percent of the fire had been contained. McLean said that by the middle of the day, there was so much smoke in the air, it looked like it was nighttime.

When he arrived there, patients were out in the front of the emergency room, where the roof had caught fire.

"Luckily, the fire broke out early enough that there were only a few students there and we had a plan".

Sky-darkening smoke from the Camp Fire in the Feather River Canyon near Paradise, Calif. on Thursday. "We're still being very careful".

Morgan Mason said her father told her that he could hear propane tanks blowing up all over Paradise this morning. "We tried to get all the nondigital things that we could - you know, stuff that couldn't be replaced", Peete said.

"This is the type of situation where, if a fire starts, it can spread rapidly", May said. Cal Fire said dozens of resources have been called in from elsewhere in the state, as firefighters work to contain the quick-moving blaze.

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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. She said a group of 20 other patients were initially evacuated but then returned to the facility because of gridlocked traffic.

Evacuated hospital patients are being taken to hospitals throughout the region.

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

"Right now, Mother Nature is in charge", Bennett said.

The Camp Fire, which started early on Thursday near Camp Creek, has been fuelled by strong winds and dry forest.

Weather forecasts showed numerous red flag warnings and wind alerts in the area Thursday into Friday.

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