Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

‘Camp Fire’ forces evacuations in Northern California

‘Camp Fire’ forces evacuations in Northern California

Evacuations were underway as firefighters battled a massive blaze, dubbed the Camp Fire, that was threatening the town of Paradise in Butte County Thursday, officials said. Colton Percifield captured the video while driving on Windermere Lane on November 8.

The Camp Fire started Thursday morning near Paradise, a town of around 27,000 some 90 miles north of Sacramento. The fire was first reported around 6:30 a.m., and over just a few hours, the fire grew from 10 acres to more than 10,000. As of Thursday afternoon, evacuations were added for several counties as the Camp Fire continued to pick up speed in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says a fire in Northern California is a "very unsafe and serious situation". She said a group of 20 other patients were initially evacuated but then returned to the facility because of gridlocked traffic. The Butte County Sheriff's Office has issued mandatory evacuation orders for most residents of Paradise and the smaller communities of Concow and Pulga.

Even before fire season began in early 2018, record-setting fires engulfed huge swaths of the Golden State, claiming the lives of numerous firefighters and civilians trying to flee the flames. The Camp Fire is now moving out of the Paradise area toward Chico, a city with 93,000 residents.

On social media, many have been sharing images of highways and roads flanked by fire or covered in heavy smoke and asking for help to evacuate friends and family. "All patients are being transported to surrounding area hospitals", a statement said. "We're still being very careful".

Shari Bernacett said she and her husband tried to get people to leave the mobile home park they manage in Paradise and had minutes to evacuate.

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

The fire forced the evacuation of patients from Paradise's main hospital to hospitals in Oroville and Chico.

Morgan Mason said her father told her that he could hear propane tanks blowing up all over Paradise this morning.

The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 70 near the fire and urged motorists to avoid the area.

"Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming", he said.

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings for fire dangers in many areas of the state, saying low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through Friday evening.

Fire officials said the flames were being fueled by winds, low humidity, dry air and severely parched brush and ground from months without rain.

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