Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Homes, hospital burn as thousands flee California wildfire

Homes, hospital burn as thousands flee California wildfire

Thousands of residents are evacuating Northern California as an uncontained, fast-moving wildfire approaches several towns in the Sierra foothills.

Driven by strong winds and dry conditions, the blaze dubbed the Camp Fire swept through the town of Paradise, burning part of the local hospital and possibly destroying over a thousand homes and other structures, county and city officials said.

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

So far there have been no reported deaths due to the blaze.

Plumes of smoke loom in the sky several miles away, seen behind a home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., as a wind-driven wildfire known as the Hill fire threatens the area late Thursday afternoon, November 4, 2018.

Butte County supervisor Doug Teeter said authorities used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out the way to reach Feather River Hospital and evacuate patients as flames engulfed its old wing and the roof of the emergency department.

Flames consume a building as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, California.

"We hope the winds will die down around midnight", he said.

Video footage taken by ABC Redding affiliate KRCR showed the hospital surrounded by thick smoke as the fire illuminated the darkened sky in the background.

Among them was Kim Curtis, who was searching for her grandmother, who told family at 8 a.m. today that she would flee her Paradise home in her Buick with her cat. "You could feel it".

More than 40 patients were evacuated to other facilities.

Classes have been canceled at Butte College and students have been told to evacuate.

The blaze is one of 14 now active in California.

Large swaths of the state are under a "red flag" fire hazard warning, and the National Weather Service Sacramento office forecasts the blaze will continue through Friday night.

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

Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage and had minutes to evacuate. The whole hill's on fire.

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