California resident documents their drive through flaming terrain

California resident documents their drive through flaming terrain

The Camp Fire in Northern California exploded in size Thursday, burning about 20,000 acres and overtaking the town of Paradise, where around 30,000 people were forced to evacuate at the last minute.

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.

Overnight, the so-called Woolsey Fire reached the city of Agoura Hills and raced through Oak Park, in the adjacent Ventura County.

The fire earlier ripped through Paradise, about 20 miles east of Chico.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office has confirmed at least five people were killed Thursday in the wildfire that nearly completely destroyed the town of Paradise.

"The town is devastated, everything is destroyed", California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Scott McLean told NBC News.

"We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road", said police officer Mark Bass, who lives in Paradise and works in neighboring Chico. Evacuation zones were posted on Cal Fire's website.

The fire in Paradise was reported shortly after daybreak in a rural area.

The entire city of Malibu was ordered to evacuate as the Woolsey Fire, as it has been named, continues to get closer to residential buildings. Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter said he was on a bulldozer that pushed cars out of the way Thursday to get to the Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in the town of Paradise.

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Many residents who fled their homes didn't get very far very fast, as traffic was snarled on the gridlocked roads leading out of town.

An AP photographer found businesses and homes leveled or in flames, including a liquor store and gas station. "Due to the fluid and rapidly changing conditions, residents are urged to stay updated through official sources for changes to evacuations and road closures", said a CalFire incident report Thursday night. He "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to alert as many residents as possible, Bernacett said. "People leaving vehicles and running with children and pets". A fire had broken out in her yard, blocking the path to her vehicle.

He said he's lived in Paradise for 18 years and worked in law enforcement for 26 years, and he's never seen any devastation like this.

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.

California is now being devastated by three separate wildfire blazing through the state, due to high winds and low humidity.

A structure is seen engulfed in flames during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018.

A California woman discovered an "ominous" burnt piece of paper that fell from the sky, just miles from a fast-moving wildfire in Northern California.

The so-called Camp Fire, which has grown to more than 70,000 acres, is moving quickly and making it hard for officials to search for other victims.

Morgan Mason said her father told her that he could hear propane tanks blowing up all over Paradise this morning.

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