Paradise, Calif., Destroyed By Wildfire, Authorities Say

Frederick Owens
November 9, 2018

Smoke from a wildfire in Butte County has moved over the Bay Area Thursday, prompting an alert by air quality authorities.

The Camp Fire has cut off power to roughly 34,000 customers in Butte and Plumas counties, according to a spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric. So far, it has burned through 20,000 acres, injured firefighters and residents and prompted hospitals and schools to quickly evacuate.

Actor Rainn Wilson said that resident of Thousand Oaks, still reeling from a Wednesday night shooting in which a gunman killed 12 people at a bar before killing himself, were now having to flee their homes.

In addition to the Woolsey Fire, the Hill Fire was burning northwest of Thousand Oaks in the Santa Rosa Valley. The fire has already consumed more than 8,000 acres.

"We grabbed our animals and some food and some clothes and we're getting the heck out of here", one man said. "I'm driving through fire as we speak".

Acting Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Butte County. Fire officials said it could take days to figure out how many people died.

Kelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband's 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from on Thursday morning.

The wildfire was reported around daybreak. Dramatic footage shows flames closing in around the highways out of town and thick smoke hanging in the sky, obscuring the horizon.

A red flag warning is in effect through Friday morning, meaning that firefighters face high winds and low humidity that help spread the wildfire.

More news: Morning people less likely to get breast cancer

Resident Shari Bernacett told the Associated Press she "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to get mobile home residents in her area to leave as fire consumed the hillside.

"We're getting them on other vehicles with room".

'Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming, ' he said.

"There was significant structure loss in multiple communities.as well as multiple civilian and firefighter injuries", said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) Chief Darren Read.

The fast-moving fire forced startled residents trying to evacuate to abandon their vehicles and flee the town by foot, according to the AP, citing Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

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

At the hospital with the stranded patients, some buildings caught fire and were damaged, but the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokesperson Jill Kinney said. 'There are dozens of strike teams that we're bringing in from all parts of the state'.

On social media many people posted anxious messages about elderly relatives who lived near the fire and were missing, urging authorities to assist them in evacuating.

A Red Flag Warning is in place through Friday morning in the Butte County area, and winds are expected to gust at speeds as high as 40 miles per hour overnight, according to the National Weathers Service.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER