State of emergency declared as 'rapidly-moving' California fire grows

State of emergency declared as 'rapidly-moving' California fire grows

"The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out".

The extent of people's injuries was not immediately known as officials could not access the risky area, 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Emergency workers were struggling to comprehend and catalog the extent of the damage.

Flames consume a vehicle dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday. "As it burned, it was able to get into an area where winds started to push it, and pushed it towards the Paradise area through a community called Concow, and jumped a canyon". An AP photographer found businesses and homes leveled or in flames, including a liquor store and gas station.

The entire town of Paradise was under evacuation as several homes in the area became engulfed in the fire, Cal Fire Public Information Officer Scott McClean said at a press conference Thursday. "I'm driving through fire as we speak". We had access problems trying to get to the fire because of its location up in the mountains.

Fire authorities did not indicate how the blaze started.

Evacuation notices were set for homes on the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people situated about 90 miles (145 km) north of Sacramento.

The Concow School sent its 60 students home, but many faculty members are anxious about their homes, said Golden Feather Union Elementary School District Superintendent Josh Peete.

A Southern California university is being evacuated due to a fast-growing wildfire that has shrouded the school in smoke.

The latest Cal Fire numbers showed that the Camp Fire had burned 70,000 acres, up from 20,000 the day before.

Meanwhile, the intensifying Woolsey Fire in Oak Park, northwest of Los Angeles, quadrupled in size in just hours, reports CBS News' John Blackstone.

"My husband tried his best to get everybody out".

"Had he not put out that fire, I would not have made it to the vehicle", she said.

Travel was limited on U.S. Highway 101 in Ventura County, state highway patrol troopers said. He was wrong. It was the flush of the Camp Fire around the town that made him panic: "I was waving down people just anyone on the road just help me because I didn't have a vehicle or nothing". People posted photos on Twitter of missing seniors.

Calabasas and Malibu are home to numerous celebrities and some have been posting on social media, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

"There's nothing much left standing", he said.

A California fire official says six major fires are burning around the state, and characterized three of them as "critical".

"Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming", he said. "There are dozens of strike teams that we're bringing in from all parts of the state". "They were abandoned because traffic was so bad, backed up for hours".

The wildfire was reported around daybreak.

"Firefighters continue to be challenged with extreme fire and weather conditions including strong winds and with long range spotting. It's that kind of devastation", he said. "It's a rapid rate of spread".

When the order came to evacuate, it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents made a decision to leave at once, they said.

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