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California wildfire destroys homes, hospital; deaths reported

California wildfire destroys homes, hospital; deaths reported

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt John Gaddie told the Associated Press that some residents in Paradise had been trapped by the fire.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said they were sending as many firefighters as possible.

As winds approached 50 mph (80 km/h), causing the fire to grow rapidly in just a few hours, some residents were forced to abandon vehicles and escape on foot, local media reported. In August, the Mendocino Complex fire became the largest wildfire ever recorded in the state, eventually burning more than 400,000 acres.

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

"'We're working very hard to get people out".

The fire has burned 20,000 acres and is not contained.

As of Thursday afternoon, two firefighters and multiple civilians had been injured, while a significant number of structures were consumed, according to Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read.

Voluntary evacuations of 75,000 homes were called for because of the Woolsey Fire that included parts of Thousand Oaks in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, the site of a mass shooting incident this week in which 12 people were killed.

The Woolsey Fire, the blaze now causing the most concern for firefighters, was up to 7,500 acres around 1:30 a.m. local time, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

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"Firefighters continue to be challenged with extreme fire and weather conditions including strong winds and with long range spotting".

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

"We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road", said police officer Mark Bass, who lives in the hard-hit town of Paradise and works in neighboring Chico.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County.

"We're talking devastated", McLean said. One evacuation center was even forced to close down as the flames spread. "That's when I made a decision to get out".

The fast-moving Camp Fire advanced to the outskirts of the northern California city of Chico early on Friday after it left the nearby town of Paradise in ruins.

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.

California is experiencing one of its worst fire years ever, with 621,743 acres burned through Sunday in areas covered by Cal Fire, almost twice the amount during the same period of 2017 and almost triple the five-year average.