Man Fire Drives Through Camp Fire Flames in Northern California

Massive wind-fueled fire threatens NorCal town of Paradise

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

It was not immediately known if there were injuries or fatalities.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says a fire in Northern California is a "very unsafe and serious situation".

"Luckily, the fire broke out early enough that there were only a few students there and we had a plan".

"We're trying to get as many people out as quickly as possible and save as many lives as we can", he said. State fire authorities said they could not confirm the reports. "People started getting out of their vehicles and running". "By the time we got out, the flames were a half mile away from the school".

He says he wants people to know that if they can evacuate, they need to evacuate.

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.

The dry heat and limited rainfall - in some places, no rainfall at all - contributed to the fire's spread.

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By 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Paradise resident Tanah Clunies-Ross said she could not see her vehicle from her front door through the cloud of smoke.

Officials are describing a harrowing effort to rescue patients from a burning hospital in a Northern California town ravaged by wildfire.

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Allana Hall captured photos of low-hanging black smoke stretching for miles as she and her boyfriend evacuated Paradise.

The chamber of commerce in nearby Chico said The Neighborhood Church was being set up as an evacuation center. Other patients were taken to Oroville Hospital in the city of Oroville.

Resident Shari Bernacett told the Associated Press she "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to get mobile home residents in her area to leave as fire consumed the hillside.

May said the low humidity and the dryness of trees and brush are among the reasons for the Camp Fire and also pose a potential danger in Berkeley. "God help us!" Bernacett said before breaking down crying.

She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through 12-foot high flames before getting to safety on Highway 99.

Among them was Kim Curtis, who was searching for her grandmother, who told family at 8 a.m. today that she would flee her Paradise home in her Buick with her cat.

Fire officials characterized the inferno as explosive. "I'm just extremely concerned".

Bernacett said she and her husband "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to alert as numerous residents of 53 mobile homes and recreational vehicles as possible to leave the area Thursday morning as authorities ordered the area evacuated.

"Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming", he said. 'There are dozens of strike teams that we're bringing in from all parts of the state'. It's the second time Hall has fled a California fire, she said.

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