Wildfire Near Chico Grows To 5,000 Acres; Evacuations Ordered

Sergio Conner
November 9, 2018

Richard Sorenson captures these images off of California Highway 32.

The fire is the latest in a string of disastrous wildfires that have burned in California over the past year. Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency in Butte County Thursday due to the "Camp Fire".

Neighbourhoods, schools and hospitals have been evacuated while some residents in the town of Paradise were trapped by the flames, officials say.

Some of the patients were initially turned around during their evacuation because of gridlocked traffic and later airlifted to other hospitals, along with some staff, Kinney said.

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

Butte County Sherriff Kory Honea told the Chico Enterprise-Record that "it's bad".

The Concow School sent its 60 students home shortly after the blaze, but many faculty members are anxious about their homes, said Golden Feather Union Elementary School District Superintendent Josh Peete. "I'm driving through fire as we speak. We were able to get them home pretty quick", he said. "Once it got going it picked up very rapidly".

"My husband tried his best to get everybody out". All classes at Butte Community College have been canceled and the campus has been evacuated. The friend waiting there with dogs in her vehicle described to her all the trees around the store as on fire.

Heavy ash was falling in Chico, she said. "It can't be there anymore".

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Gina Oviedo said there was fire everywhere as she got out of the town of Paradise about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco on Thursday. It's the second time Hall has fled a California fire, she said. "I'm moving to Mammoth (Lake) the end of this month so we may head there early".

The fire was spreading at a rapid rate after it sparked around 6:30 a.m., expanding from 1,000 to 18,000 acres in a matter of hours.

"It started in Pulga, came across to Concow and down into Paradise".

Thousands are also without power in the region, which is just north of Sacramento. Multiple roads in the area are closed as a result of the blaze. From the Costco parking lot in Paradise, light from the flames lit up the morning horizon.

The "Camp Fire" - as named by local officials - is expected to grow because of high winds and current dry conditions in the area.

The entire town of Paradise was under evacuation as several homes in the area became engulfed in the fire, Cal Fire Public Information Officer Scott McClean said at a press conference Thursday.

Fire officials said the flames were being fueled by winds, low humidity, dry air and severely parched brush and ground from months without rain. The warning will remain in effect until Friday morning, officials said.

Enloe Medical Center in nearby Chico received 24 patients, spokeswoman Jolene Francis said.

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