Residents flee 'catastrophic' wildfire in Northern California

A home burns during the Camp fire in Paradise in Northern California on Nov. 8 2018

In a matter of hours, it became apparent how quickly the fires were moving due to dry conditions and strong winds in the region.

The fire then pushed south, jumped the 101 freeway on Friday morning and pushed into the Santa Monica range. While reports have come in of injuries among firefighters and residents, no deaths have been confirmed just yet.

Five people are reported dead in the Camp Fire, which reports indicate has completely destroyed the town of Paradise, California.

The flames destroyed hundreds of homes, a hospital, a gas station, several restaurants and numerous vehicles in Paradise, officials said.

Meteorologists marvelled at the "gut-wrenching" rate of spread Thursday's fires exhibited.

The five victims have not been identified, but were found near Edgewood Lane in the small city of Paradise, which has been devastated since the fire ignited on Thursday morning.

When the order came to evacuate, it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents chose to leave at once, they said.

The fire broke out near Thousand Oaks, an area about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles where an attacker killed 12 people on Wednesday, prompting the evacuation of 75,000 homes.

More than 40,000 people were ordered to evacuate on November 8 when a fire tore through Paradise, California, according to reports.

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Rapper Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian West are among those who have taken to social media to confirm that they are safe.

"We had to drive through flames to make it out safely", she said. Firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place Friday, Cal Fire Cpt.

On Thursday, acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California and requested a presidential disaster declaration, saying that risky weather conditions were expected to last several days. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood's biggest stars. The fire earlier ripped through Paradise, about 30 kilometres east of Chico.

"There's nothing left standing", said Mr Maclean.

Queues to leave the city have resulted in traffic jams and gridlock, which has led people to leave cars abandoned on roads as they rush to safety.

Authorities said around 105,000 people had been evacuated in southern California.

A trio of rapidly expanding wildfires are burning in California, marking the latest in a string of harrowing climate-related disasters in America. Officials have put most of Northern California under a Red Flag Warning, which means "extreme fire behaviour" can occur within 24 hours.

The region has grappled with serious wildfires - including the worst in the state's history, the Mendocino and Thomas fires - on and off since 2017.

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