Paradise lost: Raging rapid wildfire reduces California city to ashes as inferno sparks evacuation of 27,000 residents burning down a hospital, a gas station, hundreds of homes and leaving ‘multiple people dead’

Friday, November 9, 2018
By Paul Martin

Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Northern California
In the town of Paradise, about 180 miles northeast of San Francisco at least 27,000 people in the town were ordered to flee
The Camp Fire ignited at 6:30am Thursday and burned over 20,000 acres – it is zero percent contained
Several injuries have been reported, but there have been no confirmed fatalities so far
Hundreds of structures have already been destroyed, but the exact number is still unknown
National Weather Service say low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through Friday
At one stage, more than 60 people were reported to be trapped inside a Walgreen’s in the town, waiting for buses to shuttle them to safety

9 November 2018

A town of 27,000 people has been ‘pretty much destroyed’ by a raging wildfire that forced terrified residents to flee their homes clutching pets and babies and collapsing pillions fell across roads.

The northern California town of Paradise and the surrounding area of around 15 square miles has been hit by devastating blaze which was swept through the area by a dry wind.

Thousands of people fled the fast-moving wildfire which quickly spread out-of-control as mountain winds swept the flames through the community, engulfing homes and destroying businesses.

Some were clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that forced the evacuation of an entire town and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

Portions of southern California have also remained under siege by two large brush fires as some 75,000 homes have been placed under evacuation orders along the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Los Angeles Fire Department Public Information Officer Erik Scott says the blaze has destroyed or damaged many buildings.

A second fire has been burning in the Santa Rosa Valley east of Camarillo, west of Simi Valley near Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks.

By last night it had scorched up to 7,000 acres and sent residents of more than 1,200 homes fleeing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

No injuries have yet been reported in either fire.

Flames were engulfing homes, utility poles were crashing down and explosions were going off as people fled to safety, one witness said.

As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene as she evacuated the town in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.

She said: ‘Things started exploding. People started getting out of their vehicles and running.’

Along with low humidity levels, the strong winds blowing northeast were blamed for the fire’s rapid movement – as humidity is expected to drop to five to ten per cent.

A red flag warning was in effect from this morning, meaning firefighters face a battle against the high dry winds and low humidity that help spread the wildfire.

The flames have been described as ‘growing uncontrollably’ by fire officials as they sweep across Butte County, California, at a rate of about 80 football fields per minute.

Late last night more than 2,200 firefighters were battling the flames and the Camp Fire in northern California remains completely uncontained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

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