Raging wildfire reduces California town to ashes

Leroy Wright
November 9, 2018

The Camp Fire, burning in Butte County, has forced more than 20,000 Californians to evacuate and burned "multiple" structures, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Evacuation warnings were issued for the area west of Highway 99 form 149 north to the Chico city limits and west to the Midway, and Highway 32 at Nople Ave.to the Butte County Line earlier.

"When this fire started this morning wind speeds were 35 to 40 miles per hour gusts", Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff said.

"Luckily, the fire broke out early enough that there were only a few students there and we had a plan". Cal Fire has put out a call for more firefighters.

Medical personnel evacuate patients from the the Feather River Hospital.

Shelley Freeman says her family and friends scrambled to evacuate in Northern California as a fast-moving fire approached.

Four of the hospital's employees were briefly trapped in the basement and rescued by California Highway Patrol officers, Kinney said. "Once it got going it picked up very rapidly".

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Camp Fire in Butte County. Residents awoke to the stench of smoke and the morning horizon drenched in an ashen-orange pallor that was hard to see or drive through, hindering evacuations. She said she did not know the exact number of people evacuated.

En route to her sister's house in Chico, she told CNN she didn't have high hopes that her home survived: "It's probably gone already".

"Hundreds of fire crews are on the scene", Lynne Tolmachoff, a Cal Fire spokesperson, told the PBS NewsHour.

Butte County Sheriff's Office ordered evacuations for Pulga, South Pine Zone, Old Magalia Zone and South Coutelenc Zone as of 10 a.m. Shelters opened at Oroville Nazarene Church at 9 a.m. and Neighborhood Church in Chico.

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.

Fire officials said the flames were being fueled by winds, low humidity, dry air and severely parched brush and ground from months without rain.

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. Gusts have reached speeds of 65 miles per hour. The warning will remain in effect in the area until Friday morning, officials said.

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