Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire

The massive plume from the Camp Fire burning in the Feather River Canyon near Paradise Calif. wafts over the Sacramento Valley as seen from Chico Calif

Oviedo described a devastating scene, saying homes were engulfed in flames and utility poles were crashing down.

Fire authorities did not indicate how the blaze started. The friend waiting there with dogs in her auto described to her all the trees around the store as on fire. Those she has heard from say the roads are gridlocked.

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, spokeswoman Jill Kinney said.

The hospital is in Paradise, a town of about 27,000 people 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco. He was wrong. It was the flush of the Camp Fire around the town that made him panic: "I was waving down people just anyone on the road just help me because i didn't have a auto or nothing".

The wildfire has been moving southwest through Paradise, a town of about 26,000, said Lynne Tolmachoff, chief of public education for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, aka Cal Fire.

More than 40 patients were evacuated to other facilities.

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.

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She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety on Highway 99, she said.

Sacremento Bee reported that multiple structures were damaged or destroyed near a hospital on Pentz Road as of about 9:45 a.m., but the hospital remained undamaged as of 9:45 a.m.

On Thursday afternoon, California fire officials say the fire had expanded to about 18,000 acres, but its true size is hard to pinpoint because of heavy smoke, which can be seen from miles away. Her 25-year-old son has cerebral palsy, needs a wheelchair to get around and is fed through a tube.

The chamber of commerce in nearby Chico said The Neighborhood Church was being set up as an evacuation center. Over the course of the day, evacuation orders were issued in Paradise, Concow, and Pulga, towns about 200 miles north of San Francisco.

The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 70 near the fire and urged motorists to avoid the area.

Carhart said officials were sending as many crews as they could gather.

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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