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Evacuations ordered, structures destroyed as fast-moving "Camp Fire" grows in California

Evacuations ordered, structures destroyed as fast-moving

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

Updates 7:31pm E.T.

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

Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, said the fire in Northern California's Butte County has "destroyed the town". "We're doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas".

When Nate Rodriguez of Paradise woke up Thursday morning he thought the red glow in the sky was the sunrise. "I'm driving through fire as we speak".

He and two pitbulls ended up making it to safety. Cal Fire said dozens of resources have been called in from elsewhere in the state, as firefighters work to contain the quick-moving blaze. "It's really dry and we have low humidity - and unfortunately those are great conditions for a fire to spread".

The town of Chico, population 93,000, was potentially threatened as 35-mile-per hour (56 kph) winds drove the blaze westward, he added. "Once it got going it picked up very rapidly".

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At around 9 p.m.an evacuation warning was issued for the area south of Highway 32 east of Bruce Road, inside the city limits, according to the Chico Police Department.

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.

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

Camp Fire in Butte County.

McLean estimated that a couple of thousand structures were destroyed in the town of 27,000 residents about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, was ordered to get out.

As of Thursday afternoon, local time, the Camp Fire has burned through 8,000 acres of forest and is 0% contained, according to California Fire officials.

PG&E equipment was identified as a cause in some of the deadly fires that swept through the region last October. On Wednesday night, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. informed more than 70,000 customers in nine counties via email that it may be cutting power as a precaution.