Thursday, 15 November, 2018

At least 1,000 structures destroyed by fast-moving fire in Northern California

Camp Fire map At least 1,000 structures destroyed by fast-moving fire in Northern California
Faye Gross | 09 November, 2018, 16:40

Plumes of smoke loom in the sky several miles away, seen behind a home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., as a wind-driven wildfire known as the Hill fire threatens the area late Thursday afternoon, November 4, 2018.

Fueled by winds, the wildfire jumped ridges from Pulga to Concow and down into Paradise, a town of 26,000 people about 85 miles north of Sacramento.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", California fire captain Scott McLean said. He said he did not know the number of injuries or how many structures were destroyed. The Camp Fire, burning in Butte County, has forced more than 20,000 Californians to evacuate and burned "multiple" structures, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

He started putting out the fire and yelled at her to get back inside, she says.

"We grabbed our animals and some food and some clothes and we're getting the heck out of here", one man said.

"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told The Associated Press. "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us". We're working very hard to get people out.

The blaze erupted as windy weather swept the state, creating extreme fire danger.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District also issued a warning Thursday afternoon, notifying residents of air quality impacts in the Bay Area due to the smoke drifting south from the Camp Fire.

The smoke of the rapidly growing blaze could be seen for miles.

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Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California.

"Everything was ignited by the time I got out of my house, everything was on fire", another person said.

In addition to the Woolsey Fire, the Hill Fire was burning northwest of Thousand Oaks in the Santa Rosa Valley. "God help us!", Shary Bernacett said.

Groups of fleeing residents gathered in a Kmart parking lot in Paradise, with their dogs and some with horses, waiting to be evacuated, said Shelley Freeman who spoke to a relative and friends in Paradise. Her grandmother, who is in her 70s and lives alone, never showed up up at a meeting spot in Chico, though.

Social media was flooded with apocalyptic imagery of smoke-filled skies and horizon lines of neon orange. "And just praying for a miracle, honestly", Ms Curtis said.

"Right now, Mother Nature is in charge", Bennett said. "There are dozens of strike teams that we're bringing in from all parts of the state".

He confirmed reports that evacuees had to abandon their vehicles as they fled the scene. It's very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary. The message I want to get out is: "If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate".

The wildfire was reported around daybreak. By nightfall, it had consumed more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers) and firefighters had no containment on the blaze, McLean said.

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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