Thousands Flee Fast-Moving Wildfire In Northern California

Thousands Flee Fast-Moving Wildfire In Northern California

The Camp Fire, burning in Butte County, has forced more than 20,000 Californians to evacuate and burned "multiple" structures, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office issued evacuation orders and warnings for numerous fire zones in the area.

Officials were sending as many firefighters as they could, Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart said.

The Redding Record-Searchlight reports that the evacuations have resulted in gridlock traffic on Skyway, the main route connecting Paradise and Chico, as people attempt to flee the area.

The sheriff confirmed reports that evacuees had to abandon their vehicles.

Cal Fire is continuing to update which public agencies and media outlets are tallying road closures and evacuation orders. She said people left their vehicles and ran when they started hearing explosions.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt John Gaddie told the Associated Press that some residents in Paradise had been trapped by the fire. She said she did not know the exact number of people evacuated.

"Given the Butte County fire is within close proximity, as a precaution Adventist Health Feather River Medical Center is evacuating all patients".

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California is experiencing one of its worst fire years ever, with 621,743 acres (251,610 hectares) burned through Sunday in areas covered by Cal Fire, almost twice the amount during the same period of 2017 and almost triple the five-year average.

"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 12-foot high flames before getting to safety on Highway 99. The fire has already consumed more than 8,000 acres.

Greer says heavy ash is falling in Chico, about 14 miles (22 kilometers) west of the fire.

Authorities in Northern California have ordered mandatory evacuations in a rural area where a wildfire has grown to 1,000 acres (405 hectares) amid hot and windy weather.

State Highway 191 was closed at SR-70 due to the fire, Caltrans reported.

Fire officials say firefighters are working to access the area and that the blaze continues to spread.

CAL FIRE said Wednesday that a Red Flag Warning was issued for most of Northern California's interior as well as parts of Southern California through Friday morning.

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