Driving through Paradise, California as the Camp Fire rages on

Evacuations ordered in Northern California as fast-moving wildfire spreads

After flames ripped through the town Thursday, Paradise (population 27,000) has been declared nearly a complete loss.

The sheriff said there were two reported calls of looting, but no arrests and no actual sightings of looting.

Flames have moved so quickly there's not a lot firefighters can do.

In the first official report of fatalities, the Butte County Sheriff tweeted on Friday that investigators had found five dead bodies. Their identities were not yet known.

"Things started exploding", Oviedo said.

Residents of the city of Paradise and other areas in Northern California are looking to flee the region, but with the Pacific Coast Highway and other vital arteries clogged it's unclear how everyone will make it out on a timely manner. They all had harrowing tales of a slow-motion escape from a fire so close they could feel the heat inside their vehicles as they sat stuck in a terrifying traffic jam.

Malibu is less than 20 miles away from Thousand Oaks, a town that is still reeling from Wednesday's mass shooting where former US Marine combat veteran Ian Long opened fire in a bar packed with college students, killing 12 people. Murphy says firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place.

The fire was was also burning in parts of Los Angeles County. McLean said that by the middle of the day, there was so much smoke in the air, it looked like it was nighttime. Thick wooden posts holding up guardrails continued to burn.

Around 75,000 homes have been placed under emergency evacuation orders, meaning more than 100,000 homes in danger across the state. Many abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot as the flames bore down on all sides. "I'm driving through fire as we speak".

The town, situated on a ridge between two valleys, was a popular retirement community, raising concerns of elderly and immobile residents who have been reported missing.

"Not one home will be left standing", he said.

TV personality Adrienne Janic said on Twitter that firefighters were using her home as a command centre. Officials have put most of Northern California is under a Red Flag Warning, which means "extreme fire behaviour" can occur within 24 hours. The message I want to get out is: "If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate". She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety, she said.

"We never heard from them again", Lee said.

Rural areas fared little better.

They lived in an RV park in the California foothill town and were unlikely equipped to evacuate.

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, spokesperson Jill Kinney said. The whole hill's on fire.

Harvey wondered if the town's traditions would survive.

Morgan Mason said her father told her that he could hear propane tanks blowing up all over Paradise this morning. "Well, it's been going for 100 years, but we don't know - there's no town now".

"Anything to bring more attention to Paradise".

Five miles north of Paradise, Tisha Aroyo and her grandfather stayed behind.

"It's Paradise", she said.

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