Thousands flee rampant wildfires in Northern California
A fast-moving wildfire advanced to the outskirts of the Northern California city of Chico early on Friday, forcing thousands of people to abandon their homes and to flee the area.
Iran Press/America: The nearby town of Paradise was completely destroyed by wildfires on Thursday. Flames from the unchecked, 20,000-acre (8,100-hectare) Camp Fire were being driven westward by 56 km-per-hour winds, fire officials said.
The fire earlier ripped through Paradise, about 20 miles east of Chico. “The town is devastated, everything is destroyed. There’s nothing much left standing,” said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) spokesman Scott Maclean.
“This fire moved so fast and grew so fast a lot of people got caught by it.”
Maclean said an as yet unspecified number of civilians and firefighters had been injured, and that it could be days before authorities would know whether anyone had died, Reuters reported.
Paradise is located on a ridge and had limited escape routes. Traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock and residents abandoned vehicles and ran from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said. One woman stuck in traffic went into labor, the Enterprise-Record newspaper reported.
The fire, which began early on Thursday, was the fiercest of several wind-driven blazes across California, during what has been one of the worst years for wildfires in the state.