PARADISE EVACUATED: Fast-Growing Butte County Fire Has Already Burned 5000 Acres

Geneva Stokes
November 9, 2018

The Camp Fire, burning in Butte County, has forced more than 20,000 Californians to evacuate and burned "multiple" structures, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office issued evacuation orders and warnings for numerous fire zones in the area.

Evacuations were also directed for all of Paradise, which is home to almost 27,000 residents, and nearby Pulga due to the Camp Fire, according to news reports. As of approximately 2:30 p.m., Cal Fire's Butte unit reported zero percent of the fire had been contained.

Thick grey smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

Butte County supervisor Doug Teeter said authorities used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out the way to reach Feather River Hospital and evacuate patients as flames engulfed its old wing and the roof of the emergency department.

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

Photos and videos on social media show just how intense the massive wildfire has become. It's very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary.

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Shelley Freeman says her family and friends scrambled to evacuate in Northern California as a fast-moving fire approached. "The message I want to get out is if you can evacuate, you need to evacuate", Honea said.

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

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

Jillian Smalley escaped her neighborhood as fire consumed everything around her. Flames and cinders crawled along the ground and up trees as she, her mother and grandmother fled the area. "We had to ride through flames to get here", he said from the side of a road west of Paradise.

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

Mandatory evacuations are underway in Northern California as the Camp Fire continues to blaze through at least 18,000 acres.

Gusty winds and low humidity were among the factors that led to the warning.

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