Early reports this morning indicate the so-called Camp Fire exploded overnight, destroying thousands of homes and supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement home in what was once the community of Paradise in northern California. “Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it’s that kind of devastation,” CAL FIRE Captain Scott McLean said, according to the Associated Press. “The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out."
Dramatic video captures man's escape driving through CampFire flames as the massive Northern California wildfire threatens at least 18,000 acres.
Mandatory evacuations were issued for the towns of Paradise, Pulga and Concow. OWekoRz6PJ— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2018
Based on the estimated number of structures destroyed in this fire, it will become one for the record books as one of the most destructive fires in California history. According to Earther, "the nine worst fires the state have seen all burned at least 1,000 buildings, with the top three topping 2,000." The speed of the fire caught everyone off guard as it was driven forward by the high winds and dry landscape. consuming more than 28 square miles (73 square kilometers) by nightfall with firefighters unable to contain any of the blaze, McLean said.
FireDevil at the abc7now LiveDoppler7 jS5WBsvcnV
— Laura Anthony (@LauraAnthony7) November 9, 2018
There were many stories of heroism, as residents and first responders went back into the raging inferno to save the elderly and others unable to get to safety. There were also many videos posted on social media showing the sheer terror many families experienced driving through a literal wall-of-flames to reach safety. "It's a very dangerous and very serious situation," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. “We’re working very hard to get people out. The message I want to get out is: If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate.” Several evacuation centers were set up in nearby towns.
The Camp Fire🔥 with massive smoke plume visible. #ButteCounty #California #USA🇺🇸 8 November 2018 Nat col. + IR highlights #Landsat 8🛰️ Full-size: https://t.co/w4MTmkjPY3 Without IR highlights: https://t.co/Ejpo5ZOEnz #CampFire #ButteFire #wildfire pic.twitter.com/wfSAjIo6kb
— Pierre Markuse (@Pierre_Markuse) November 9, 2018
Twitter has also been playing host to users who are looking for loved ones missing in the fire. In the midst of the chaos, it has been difficult to provide figures on the number of wounded, missing or worse, dead. But according to CAL Fire, there have been many residents and firefighters injured. Chico police officer John Barker and his partner evacuated several elderly people from an apartment complex. “Most of them were immobile with walkers, or spouses that were bed-ridden, so we were trying to get additional units to come and try and help us, just taking as many as we could,” he said, describing the community as having “a lot of elderly, a lot of immobile people, some low-income with no vehicles.”