Drift Smoke from Butte County Fire Enters Contra Costa County

Evarado Alatorre
Noviembre 9, 2018

A specific number of buildings destroyed was unclear, but Ventura County Fire Department said "multiple structures" were now burned to the ground.

A structure is seen engulfed in flames during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018.

An elementary school in the region was also forced to evacuate students after the fire came within half a mile of the campus, according to CNN. They predict, Gusty winds out of the east-northeast will develop across ridgetops in northwest California Wednesday night through Thursday evening.

"Things started exploding", said resident Gina Oviedo.

Butte County Sheriff's Office ordered evacuations for Pulga, South Pine Zone, Old Magalia Zone and South Coutelenc Zone as of 10 a.m. Shelters opened at Oroville Nazarene Church at 9 a.m. and Neighborhood Church in Chico. "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 doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas".

The blaze erupted as windy weather swept the state, creating extreme fire danger. It prompted evacuations of a mobile home park, a state university campus and a small community.

She and her husband "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to alert as numerous residents of 53 mobile homes and recreational vehicles as possible to leave, Bernacett said.

"My husband tried his best to get everybody out".

"When this fire started this morning wind speeds were 35 to 40 miles per hour gusts", Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff said.

She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety on Highway 99, she said.

One Paradise resident who fled the encroaching blaze told the Bee: "It was so hot".

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Many people took to social media to register their distress. "There's nothing much left standing", said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesperson Scott Maclean.

"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".

With limited escape routes from the town, which is built on a ridge, traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock, with residents forced to abandon vehicles and run from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said.

"It was absolutely dark", said resident Mike Molloy, who said he made a split decision based on the wind to leave Thursday morning, packing only the minimum and joining a sea of other vehicles. "Once it got going it picked up very rapidly".

The wildfire was reported around daybreak.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for strong winds and low relative humidity.

Cal Fire officials warned that the blaze could enter the city of Chico, a college town of about 93,000 about six miles from Paradise. "Everything is a very receptive fuel bed".

The Adventist Health Feather River hospital in town caught fire, as firefighters battled the flames, Lillis wrote.

Four hospital employees were briefly trapped in the basement and rescued by California Highway Patrol officers, Kinney said.

The challenging fire conditions are expected to continue Friday in Southern California where wind alerts and red flag warnings have been issued and wind gusts could reach 70 miles per hour and relative humidity could be as low as 2 percent.

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