Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Residents flee as Camp Fire tears through California towns

Camp Fire Smoke Smoke from the Camp Fire Camp Fire Smoke Smoke from the Camp Fire
Melinda Barton | 09 November, 2018, 17:03

Also burning in Ventura County was the Hill Fire, which had torched 10,000 acres (4047 hectares) by Thursday night, fire officials said.

Honea says resources are spread thin, but officials are "doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas".

Evacuations were ordered for the Butte towns of Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley, fire officials said.

"Most of them were immobile with walkers, or spouses that were bed-ridden, so we were trying to get additional units to come and try and help us, just taking as many as we could", he said, describing the community as having "a lot of elderly, a lot of immobile people, some low-income with no vehicles".

The Camp Fire started Thursday morning near Paradise, a town of around 27,000 some 90 miles north of Sacramento. Multiple motorists have abandoned their vehicles. The normally two-way road has been converted to one-way to allow more people to escape.

Cal Fire is continuing to update which public agencies and media outlets are tallying road closures and evacuation orders.

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

The entire town had been evacuated earlier, with traffic backing up throughout the area as residents try to get to safety.

A home burns during the Camp fire in Paradise, California on November 08, 2018.

"By the time we got out, the flames were a half mile away from the school".

The Woolsey Fire, the blaze now causing the most concern for firefighters, was up to 7,500 acres around 1:30 a.m. local time, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The conditions there are bone dry and erratic winds with speeds ranging from 20 to 55 miles per hour are rapidly fanning the flames.

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.

"Right now, Mother Nature is in charge", Bennett said. One of them was on fire, and some cars were driving through it, but she didn't want to chance it with the children in the vehicle, he said. "There are dozens of strike teams that we're bringing in from all parts of the state". It's very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary.

In Chico, west of the fire, resident Tina Greer said the care home where her disabled son lives with five other patients was evacuating.

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

The National Weather Service issued red-flag warnings for fire dangers in many areas of the state, saying low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through the evening.