Thousands evacuated from large wildfire in Paradise, California - reports of dead and injured
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Wildfire season is not over in California. A large fire rages in and around the city of Paradise in northern California. About 30,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, writes The San Francisco Chronicle.
A hospital was evacuated when it started the fire started, and terrifying images shows people fleeing their burning homes and businesses
It is not known what caused the fire that broke out early on Thursday morning local time. Hot and dry weather has helped to spread the fire quickly and many people are reported to have been injured. The fire was on Thursday moving westward.
In the video above, BC10's Brandon Rittiman provides a Thursday afternoon update on the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.
The video below shows what has been called "The Camp Fire in Butte County" and has exploded to 17,000+ acres within 6 hours since the fire started on Thursday.
According to EU.redding.com, emergency responders said they have unconfirmed reports of deaths, but as the Camp Fire continued to burn Thursday evening it was still impossible to reach the reported locations and begin to search.
Officials said the cause is under investigation, refusing to comment further.
At mid-afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimated the blaze at 18,000 acres, a figure that was certain to grow as the wind-driven blaze swept across dry ridges and through steep canyons.
The fire was burning about 80 acres per minute, according to UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. That's equal to about 60 football fields per minute.
In Paradise, a town of 27,000, hospitals rushed to evacuate patients and reports of harrowing escapes and people trapped in commercial buildings, including a Walgreens, flooded social media throughout the day. Details were difficult to confirm because of the lack of access to the community.
Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said he believed the old portion of Feather River Hospital had burned, but a newer addition was safe.
Teeter said he himself had taken refuge in a field after suddenly having to evacuate.
A spokeswoman for the Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise told The Associated Press that 20 patients had to go back to the facility after evacuating because of gridlocked traffic.
Hospital spokeswoman Jill Kinney said clinics and other outbuildings were on fire or had been damaged, but the main hospital was untouched.
As nightfall neared and winds blew in the direction of Chico, the county's largest city with about 93,000 residents, firefighters could not rule out the possibility of the Camp Fire reaching its borders.
Brynn Chatfield was one of the 27,000 Paradise residents who had to evacuate Thursday morning to escape the fast-moving Camp Fire.
She prayed as she and her husband got out of town with the fire burning on both sides of the roadway. A video she posted on Facebook showed their harrowing escape.
“We were driving south in the northbound lane on Skyway toward Chico,” she told the Record Searchlight on Thursday afternoon.
“I saw a lot of brave people trying to direct traffic and do what they could to help others,” Chatfield said.
She said the wind-driven fire was spreading so fast that emergency personnel were hustling to get people out of the chaotic scene. Emergency personnel couldn’t tell where the fire was going “because it was everywhere,” she said.