Man and Cats Take Harrowing Drive Out of California's Camp Fire

Camp Fire Smoke Smoke from the Camp Fire

Joshua Siegel was able to record footage from inside the vehicle as he was evacuating Paradise with his pets, showing just how intense the flames were.

As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.

The Chico Enterprise-Record reports that a retirement home and Ponderosa Elementary School were also evacuated.

"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. Multiple motorists have abandoned their vehicles.

With limited escape routes from the town, which is built on a ridge, traffic accidents turned roads into gridlock, with residents forced to abandon vehicles and run from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said. "The message I want to get out is if you can evacuate, you need to evacuate", Honea said.

The fire is centered in the Feather River Canyon off Highway 70 about five miles east of the town of Paradise which has a population of near 26,000 people.

The wildfire was reported at 6:30 a.m., affecting about 30,000 people, Rick Carhart, a Cal Fire spokesman, said.

"Things started exploding", Oviedo said.


"The blaze is being driven by fairly strong winds", Carhart said.

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

.

Thick gray smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away. She said she did not know the exact number of people evacuated. Cal Fire said dozens of resources have been called in from elsewhere in the state, as firefighters work to contain the quick-moving blaze.

On social media, many have been sharing images of highways and roads flanked by fire or covered in heavy smoke and asking for help to evacuate friends and family.

Flames consume a home as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise.

At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities and some buildings caught fire and were damaged.

Four of the hospital's employees were briefly trapped in the basement and rescued by California Highway Patrol officers, Kinney said.

Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage and had minutes to evacuate.

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, Bernacett said.

'My husband tried his best to get everybody out.

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