The blaze began early on Thursday and quickly charred 18,000 acres (3,237 hectares), forcing the evacuation of the 27,000 residents of Paradise, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of San Francisco, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in a statement.
The wildfire was reported at 6:30 a.m., affecting about 30,000 people, Rick Carhart, a Cal Fire spokesman, said.
The massive plume from the Camp Fire, burning in the Feather River Canyon near Paradise, Calif., wafts over the Sacramento Valley as seen from Chico, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.
"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told The Associated Press. She said a group of 20 other patients were initially evacuated but then returned to the facility because of gridlocked traffic. Evacuations have been ordered in Butte County per CALFIRE.
Fire officials say firefighters are working to access the area and that the blaze continues to spread.
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Flames consume a auto and building as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., today.
Videos and photos on social media show thick, opaque smoke wafting over the ridges toward town. "All patients are being transported to surrounding area hospitals", a statement said.
One Paradise resident who fled the encroaching blaze told the Bee: "It was so hot".
Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage. It's very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary.
At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities and some buildings caught fire and were damaged. Within roughly six hours, the fire had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), said Gaddie.
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"The whole hill's on fire", she said while crying.
Cal Fire said Wednesday that a Red Flag Warning was issued for most of Northern California's interior as well as parts of Southern California through Friday morning.
Butte County Fire Chief Darren Read said there were multiple injuries among civilians and firefighters.
"Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming", he said.
The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 70 near the fire and urged motorists to avoid the area.
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The Camp Fire has burned more than 5,000 acres and is still very active as it is wind driven.