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Thousands Flee Fast-Moving Wildfire In Northern California

09 November 2018

A fast-moving wildfire is rapidly spreading through northeastern California, growing to over 16,000 acres in under 12 hours and leading acting Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.

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

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. "God help us!" Bernacett said before breaking down crying.

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

California is experiencing one of its worst fire years ever, with 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. She said a group of 20 other patients were initially evacuated but then returned to the facility because of gridlocked traffic.

The Camp Fire began early Thursday morning near Camp Creek Road and Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon.

This photo taken from video provided by CBS2/KCAL9 shows a wildfire burning in Camarillo.

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

Gaddie, the fire official, said authorities were "working on a plan" to rescue the patients.

Yesterday, Cal Fire officials said that parts of Northern and Southern California was under a "red flag" warning for critical fire weather "due to gusty winds, dry fuels & low humidity".

The Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise evacuated all its patients and staff, given its close proximity to the fire, and transported them safely to hospitals in neighboring towns, Jill Kinney, an Adventist Health spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

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

"It's very chaotic. It's a very bad fire", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol said of the evacuation.

Thousands Flee Fast-Moving Wildfire In Northern California