At least 5 dead as Northern California wildfire almost quadruples in size

Santa Ana Winds in the Forecast Ramping up Extreme Fire Threat in Southern California

Though Paradise is just north of Lake Oroville, a satellite map of the town shows very few little in the way of creeks, lakes, rivers or other bodies of water. Reinbold said Thursday he lives in the middle of town and doesn't know if his house is standing.

Paradise is 180 miles (289 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

An Associated Press photographer saw dozens of businesses and homes levelled or in flames, including a liquor store and gas station. A California fire official says he has reports of several hundred structures that have been destroyed, but officials say they won't have an exact count until they can get into the area.

Allana Hall said this marks the second time she has fled a California fire.

Smoke from the fire drifted in a huge plume and set off smoke alarms as far away as San Francisco, almost 150 miles away.

With a week or more until rain falls in the affected areas, the wildfire may very well reach the nearby town of Chico, which has over 93,000 citizens.

Another police officer in Chico, John Barker, said many elderly people live in Paradise and some are immobile. We had access problems trying to get to the fire because of its location up in the mountains.

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. About 3,300 students and staff members from Paradise's 11 schools were evacuated in buses and employees' cars to a center in Chico, Butte County Schools Superintendent Tim Taylor said.

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

A wildfire is hopscotching across a northern California county at a rate of roughly 80 football fields per minute, forcing evacuations, injuring residents and firefighters, and sending families racing from their homes.

In the midst of the chaos, officials said they could not provide figures on the number of wounded, but County Cal Fire Chief Darren Read said that at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured. Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom has requested an emergency presidential disaster declaration from Trump to speed the flow of federal aid to victims. Firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place today, Cal Fire Cpt.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", said Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean late Thursday.

The fire has consumed more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers) and forced residents of the town to evacuate.

Wildfires also erupted in Southern California.

A separate fire, the "Woolsey Fire", in Ventura County sparked evacuation orders for parts of the city of Thousand Oaks, where a Marine Corps veteran shot dead 12 people in a country music bar on Wednesday night.

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