Thousands Flee as Northern California Blaze Leaves ‘Complete Devastation’

A Northern California wildfire exploded to more than 20,000 acres on Thursday, forcing at least 30,000 people to flee, sparking frantic rescue efforts, and reportedly leaving dozens missing. The so-called Camp Fire is burning in multiple parts of Paradise, a town near the foothills of Sacramento that a spokeswoman for the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said late Thursday had suffered “complete devastation.” Fire officials said several hundred homes had burned. “We were engulfed in flames,” Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter told the Chronicle. “I don’t know what we are coming back to after this. Probably a moonscape. As we drove out, homes were burnt to the ground,” he said. The Butte County Sheriff's Office said it had received reports of multiple fatalities but could not yet confirm any deaths. Dozens of people were also reported missing by friends and family members who turned to social media for help in their search efforts. As of Thursday night, the fire had no containment, and additional evacuations were ordered as the flames approached the city of Chico. Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Butte County, making the state eligible for federal assistance to fight the fire. In Southern California, the “Hill Fire” grew to 8,000 to 10,000 acres on Thursday. The Ventura County Star reports the fire caused mandatory evacuations for the Camarillo Springs area, and jumped Highway 101.