A rapid fire broke out on Thursday morning in Northern California, causing numerous evacuations, including several entire cities.
The Butte County Sheriff's Office told the Associated Press that a mandatory evacuation order was issued to the entire city of Paradise, which is home to approximately 27,000 people and is located at north of Sacramento. Other evacuated cities include Centerville and Butte Creek, northwest of Paradise.
Officials confirmed to the AP that some residents who attempted to escape the fire in their vehicles were then forced to flee on foot as the flames approached. With a few options out of paradise, the roads quickly got stuck and the abandoned cars left in the middle of the road only made matters worse.
"It's bad ," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record. "We are trying to get as many people out as quickly as possible and save as many lives as possible."
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Nicknamed Camp Fire, the fire powered by dry wind conditions it was spread rapidly to more than 12.5 square miles in about six hours and forced to close several roads, according to Cal Fire. The fire is limited to 0% and it is not yet known what caused it.
They were also evacuated to the nearby villages of Pulga and Concow.
Feather River Hospital, a nursing home and Ponderosa Elementary School in Paradise were evacuated, the Enterprise-Record also said, and Butte College was closed.
The rapid growth of the fire brought many residents by surprise. Shary Bernacett said she and her husband "knocked on doors, screamed and shouted" to alert how many of the mobile park dwellers who run in Paradise a few minutes before the fire came, he said at the scene. ; AP.
The Bernacetts managed to escape the fire with their dog, but had to drive through the 12-foot high flames before reaching salvation on Highway 99.
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At least 24,000 homes and companies, or about half of all customers, are powerless in Butte County, according to PowerOutage.us. Those who escaped safely were asked to register on the Safe and Well page of the American Red Cross to allow their friends and family to be successfully evacuated.
Much of the state is under warnings with a red flag.
Winds will rise all day, said weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles . The winds sustained by the east will increase to around 30 to 35 mph with higher winds in prone canyons. Some isolated wind gusts could reach 60 mph on Thursday night or during the night.