Driving through Paradise, California as the Camp Fire rages on

Blanche Robertson
November 10, 2018

Thousands had to flee their homes in California wildfire.

About 800km to the north, nine people were found dead in and around the Northern California town of Paradise, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were burned down by the Camp Fire.

In the midst of the chaos, officials said they could not provide figures on the number of wounded, but County Cal Fire Chief Darren Read said at a news conference that at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.

A massive wildfire burned out of control across California, including one that spurred the evacuation of 75,000 homes near a city that was already reeling from a mass shooting. Firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place Friday, Cal Fire Cpt.

Firefighters admit they are being beaten by the intense flames and have turned their attention to helping people escape.

The other fire burning to the west in Ventura County was also moving toward the ocean but its pace was slowed as it moved into the footprint of a 2013 wildfire that devoured vegetation on the far end of the Santa Monica range. "When we have conditions like this, when it's such incredible wind, that brings us into a different caliber".

On Thursday, acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California and requested a presidential disaster declaration, saying that risky weather conditions were expected to last several days.

Meteorologists marvelled at the "gut-wrenching" rate of spread Thursday's fires exhibited. At one point, the Camp Fire was consuming 80 football fields worth of land per minute, fueled by winds of up to 50 mph. Staff at the Los Angeles Zoo, which is located in the park, were preparing animals to be evacuated.

The blaze, called Camp Fire, broke out on Thursday evening and was only 5% contained as of nightfall on Friday.

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He says that although players think they're staying dormant but they're "hoping now is the time to work and bring players back in".

At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities.

Residents spoke of flames approaching their vehicles on the gridlocked roads and said electricity poles came crashing down. Video from the exodus is nightmare-inducing, and is hard to watch.

Many abandoned their cars on the side of the road, fleeing on foot. "The whole town is gone", Gianna Wallace, a survivor, told Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow. "The town is devastated, everything is destroyed".

Authorities issued an unhealthy air quality alert for parts of the San Francisco Bay Area as smoke from the wildfire drifted south.

Nine people were declared dead and 150,000 evacuated as fierce wildfires raged across the western U.S. state of California, with one rapidly spreading blaze threatening the famed resort of Malibu.

Portions of Highways 101 and 1 were closed, causing gridlock along some evacuation routes.

Some of the evacuation orders were for residents within the City of Los Angeles in the West Hills area.

Smoke forecast map. This one shows 48-hour smoke forecasts from the National Weather Service for areas affected by the fires.

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