Massive wind-fueled fire threatens NorCal town of Paradise

Santa Ana Winds in the Forecast Ramping up Extreme Fire Threat in Southern California

A California wildfire raced across a northern county in the state on Thursday, reducing the town of Paradise to ashes and injuring residents and first responders, fire officials said. "We had to ride through flames to get here", he said from the side of a road west of Paradise.

At the hospital with the stranded patients, some buildings caught fire and were damaged, but the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokesperson Jill Kinney said.

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. The company also said about 14,000 residents in Butte County and neighboring Plumas County were without power. "All patients are being transported to surrounding area hospitals", a statement said. "By the time we got out, the flames were a half mile away from the school".

Google's 2018 Statewide Fire Map for California lists all the active fires in the state for which California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is responding.

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

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

Video footage taken by ABC Redding affiliate KRCR showed the hospital surrounded by thick smoke as the fire illuminated the darkened sky in the background.

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.




"The whole hill's on fire", she said while crying.

Officials were sending as many crews as they could gather, Carhart said.

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

"We had to drive through flames to make it out safely", she said.

"Right now, Mother Nature is in charge", Bennett said.

He said sheriff's deputies helped patients evacuate.

A Red Flag Warning is in place through Friday morning in the Butte County area, and winds are expected to gust at speeds as high as 40 miles per hour overnight, according to the National Weathers Service.

The Camp Fire has burned more than 5,000 acres and is still very active as it is wind driven.

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