Paradise, Calif., Destroyed By Wildfire, Authorities Say

The Camp Fire scorched 5,000 acres in about three hours officials say

Malibu officials initially said the order issued early Friday applied to the entire city before reducing the order's scope.

With a week or more until rain falls in the affected areas, the wildfire may very well reach the nearby town of Chico, which has over 93,000 citizens. One of them was on fire, and some cars were driving through it, but she didn't want to chance it with the children in the auto, he said. Fire surrounded the evacuation route, and drivers panicked.

Back in Butte County, concerned friends and family posted frantic messages on Twitter and other sites saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone.

"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.

Driven by high winds and dry conditions, the blaze dubbed the Camp Fire swept through the town of Paradise, with social media reports that a hospital, high school and K-Mart store were on fire.

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While no homes or businesses have been lost due to the fast-moving fire, a number of RVs and outbuildings have been burned and a firefighter suffered a minor injury, authorities said. Within roughly six hours, the fire had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), said Gaddie.

The Chico Fire Department said: "Firefighters continue to actively engage the fire in order to protect life and property". People in some neighborhoods have been told to get out.

"Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", California fire captain Scott McLean said. He said that people spoke there about neighbors in Concow who had been unable to escape their homes. He said the fast-moving flames forced fire crews to shelter people at a Walgreens and other locations until flames passed through.

"The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out".

- The town of Paradise, Calif.in the Sierra Nevada foothills just north of Sacramento, best known for its deep canyons, the Feather River and a legendary story about a 19th century saloon, was ravaged in fire.

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Richardson estimates another 60,000 people will likely have to evacuate because the fire jumped US 101 early Friday and is pushing toward the coast.

Images of the Hill Fire burning in Ventura County.

Late Thursday, more than 2,200 firefighters were battling the flames and the Camp Fire remains completely uncontained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Fire ripped through residential areas and flames leapt from hospitals and schools, according to a Reuters witness, who saw a auto dealership go up in flames on a street clogged with burned out vehicles and an abandoned police cruiser.

The National Weather Service says warm temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds are forecast for those areas to Friday morning.

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