California schools, hospital evacuate ahead of fast-moving Camp Fire

California schools, hospital evacuate ahead of fast-moving Camp Fire

California schools, hospital evacuate ahead of fast-moving Camp Fire

Residents of Concow, California, were asked to evacuate as the Camp Fire that erupted Thursday morning in Northern California.

The entire town of Paradise was under evacuation as several homes in the area became engulfed in the fire, Cal Fire Public Information Officer Scott McClean said at a press conference Thursday.

At least 27,000 people in the town of Paradise about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco were ordered to flee Thursday. By 2:00 p.m. local time, it had grown to 18,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.

The Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise evacuated staff and 41 patients to other hospitals, given its close proximity to the fire, said Jill Kinney, an Adventist Health spokeswoman.

"Luckily, the fire broke out early enough that there were only a few students there and we had a plan".

California is experiencing one of its worst fire years ever, with 251,610 hectares burned through Sunday in areas covered by Cal Fire, almost twice the amount during the same period of 2017 and almost triple the five-year average.

Local media reports have shown images of traffic moving away from the plumes of smoke and orange glow of the wildfire.

"This is the type of situation where, if a fire starts, it can spread rapidly", May said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company said about 14,000 residents of Butte and Plumas counties were without power due to fire activity and requests from firefighters to cut electricity in certain areas for safety, Sacramento Bee reported.

In Chico, west of the fire, resident Tina Greer said the care home where her disabled son lives with five other patients was evacuating. "We tried to get all the nondigital things that we could - you know, stuff that couldn't be replaced", Peete said.

May said the low humidity and the dryness of trees and brush are among the reasons for the Camp Fire and also pose a potential danger in Berkeley. "All patients are being transported to surrounding area hospitals", a statement said.

Shary Bernacett says she and her husband tried to get people to leave the mobile home park they manage in Paradise, California, with just minutes to evacuate as a wildfire approached the east side of town.

The California Highway Patrol closed a nearby highway and urged motorists to avoid the area.

The Camp Fire, which started early on Thursday near Camp Creek, has been fuelled by strong winds and dry forest.

Officials have put most of Northern California is under a Red Flag Warning, which means "extreme fire behaviour" can occur within 24 hours.

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