Hundreds of homes destroyed by California wildfire, deaths reported

Cheryl Sanders
November 9, 2018

He said he did not know the number of injuries or how many structures were destroyed.

Many abandoned their cars on the side of the road, fleeing on foot. To make matters worse, as the flames approached, they sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.

"It's a very unsafe and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told The Associated Press. "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us". "People started getting out of their vehicles and running". Multiple motorists have abandoned their vehicles. Rescuers were trying to put them in other vehicles, he said.

According to Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Lillis, some 60 to 70 people were awaiting an emergency evacuation at a Walgreen's in Paradise. "The message I want to get out is if you can evacuate, you need to evacuate", Honea said.

A fast-moving wildfire roared through a Northern California town on Thursday, with reports of fatalities as it engulfed dozens of buildings and tens of thousands of people fled the flames, police and state authorities said.

In Southern California, the night sky burned orange as the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties grew thousands of acres overnight, exploding from 2,000 acres to 7,500 in a matter of hours.

A combination of profoundly dry vegetation and heavy winds are contributing to the fire's explosive pattern. "It's really dry and we have low humidity - and unfortunately those are great conditions for a fire to spread". She captured photos of low-hanging black smoke stretching for miles as she and her boyfriend evacuated Paradise. However, on Thursday the place is very far from paradise: a rapidly growing wildfire encompassing 6,000 acres is closing in on the town, forcing its residents to drop everything and evacuate, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

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

Some of the hospital's 'outbuildings, ' such as out-patient clinics caught fire and were damaged but the main hospital was not, said Kinney.

Resident Shari Bernacett told the Associated Press she "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to get mobile home residents in her area to leave as fire consumed the hillside.

Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou Herrera, left a frantic voicemail at around 9:30 a.m. saying they needed to get out.

TV personality Adrienne Janic said on Twitter that firefighters were using her home as a command centre. She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety, she said.

One woman, Kim Curtis, said she was searching for her grandmother, a woman in her 70s who had said she was fleeing with her cat but had failed to turn up at an arranged meeting point and was not contactable. "I saved their lives", D'Amico said. "I'm just extremely concerned".

The Concow School sent its 60 students home, but many faculty members are anxious about their homes, said Golden Feather Union Elementary School District Superintendent Josh Peete.

"Right now, Mother Nature is in charge", Bennett said. It takes time to pack the patients' medical equipment and medicine, she said.

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