Harrowing tales of escape and heroic rescues emerged from Paradise, where the entire community of 27,000 was ordered to evacuate.
Fueled by winds, the wildfire jumped ridges from Pulga to Concow and down into Paradise, a town of 26,000 people about 85 miles north of Sacramento.
By Friday morning, the area remained under siege, with reports that two large fires had burned 15,000 acres and were threatening multiple communities, with 75,000 homes under evacuation orders. Cal Fire Chief Darren Read told reporters that an estimated 1,500 first-responders were at the scene or en route, as well as 300 fire engines, 20 bulldozers, aircrafts and other support vehicles.
Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom called a state of emergency in Butte County, north of Sacramento, after the so-called Camp Fire grew to more than 18,000 acres in just eight hours with none of it contained.
The fast-moving fire forced startled residents trying to evacuate to abandon their vehicles and flee the town by foot, according to the AP, citing Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.
"What pisses me off is I don't think they told everybody soon enough", said Kim Benn, 49, a neighbor who realized she needed to flee the fire when another resident pounded on her door. "We tried to get all the nondigital things that we could - you know, stuff that couldn't be replaced", Peete said.
Residents described fleeing their homes and then getting stuck on gridlocked roads as flames approached, sparking explosions and toppling utility poles.
Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said Paradise is no longer standing.
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The City of Calabasas Twitter revealed early Friday morning that the Woolsley Fire has spread to 7,300 acres with no containment. The blaze had consumed 8,000 acres by Friday and crossed Highway 101, spurring a new round of evacuations in the Malibu area.
Dramatic footage captured the moment a "firenado" filled the sky near a California town. Residents abandoned vehicles and ran from the flames carrying children and pets, officials said. Some buildings caught fire and were damaged but the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokeswoman Jill Kinney said.
"It's very chaotic", said Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol. Others took to Twitter to post messages about missing family members.
The Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on November 8, 2018.
"It's the black of night at 9 a.m.", McClean said.
"The town, it looks like a blast zone from some sort of explosion", Bass said. "We're anxious sick. They do have a auto, but they both are older and can be confused at times".
There were 23.4 million Californians lopes not only fan flames but also dry out the land surface, lowering relative humidity levels to 10 percent - creating tinderbox conditions for the spread of fire.
With fires burning in both Northern and Southern California, the director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services put the number of people forced from their homes at 157,000.
The fire broke out on Thursday north west of Los Angeles and roared south, jumping the USA 101 freeway early on Friday and sweeping into the Santa Monica Mountains.
A burning sign is seen outside Paradise Skilled Nursing home during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018.