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California wildfire destroys homes, hospital; deaths reported

09 November 2018, 06:39 | Devin Moran

FIRE PIC 1 CAL FIRE BUTTEcredit Cal Fire Butte County

FIRE PIC 1 CAL FIRE BUTTEcredit Cal Fire Butte County

Officials ordered tens of thousands of people to evacuate in the county, including in Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley.

Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's largest utility, announced Tuesday it might preemptively cut power to eight California counties starting Thursday morning to prevent a possible wildfire, including Butte County where the Camp Fire is located. Large swathes of land elsewhere in the state now remain under a Red Flag warning, which Cal Fire says is "issued for weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours".

Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said he was on a bulldozer that pushed cars out of the way Thursday to get to the Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in the town of Paradise. My family is evacuated and safe.

Some of the first responders that rushed to the scene of the second mass shooting in less than two weeks in the U.S. were also helping out with fire-related duties.

BAAQMD said while most of the smoke was expected to remain aloft the public would likely see and smell smoke from the quickly-expanding fire. "The south side as well as the north side has been hit very hard as well".

Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency because of the fire.

Sanchez said he was in Sacramento Thursday seeing a cancer doctor when he got a call from his mother and his friends that his children had to evacuate. It's already burned dozens of homes and threatens 30,000 more. An emergency evacuation order was issued for several neighborhoods west of Los Angeles as firefighters frantically fought back the Woolsey Fire.




"Had he not put out that fire, I would not have made it to the auto", she 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.

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. The fire was zero percent contained as of 1pm Thursday afternoon, according to Cal Fire, and is visible from satellites. One of them was on fire, and some cars were driving through it, but she didn't want to chance it with the children in the vehicle, he said.

The fires are the latest in a string of disastrous wildfires that have burned in California over the past year.

The fire and evacuations led to gridlock traffic in Paradise, and multiple drivers abandoned their vehicles, Sacramento Bee reported. It had injured an undisclosed number of civilians, and two firefighters, officials said at a news conference on Thursday.

Wind gusts of 50 to 70 miles per hour (80 to 113 kph) were expected in the mountains of Ventura County and up to 50 miles per hour in the valleys and coastal areas of the county, the NWS said.

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



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