5 killed as 3 California wildfires destroy thousands of structures, force evacuations

Medical personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise Calif. on Thursday

Medical personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise Calif. on Thursday

The Camp fire swept through Paradise, California, on Thursday, with officials saying at least 1,000 structures were destroyed.

A fast-moving wildfire advanced to the outskirts of the Northern California city of Chico early on Friday, forcing thousands to flee after it left the nearby town of Paradise in ruins.

"There was really no firefight involved", Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said, explaining that crews gave up attacking the flames and instead helped people get out alive.

Zoo staff have begun to evacuate some animals - starting with the lemurs - but the fire has not spread as fast as the Malibu blaze due to lighter winds. "All residents evacuate now", the city said via Twitter.

'It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us, ' he added. Thousands of firefighters are battling the flames.

Queues to leave the city have resulted in traffic jams and gridlock, which has led people to leave cars abandoned on roads as they rush to safety.

"Things started exploding", Oviedo said. Miller at first scoffed at the notion of getting back in a vehicle.

It is feared some of the dead may be elderly residents who were trapped in their homes.

Hear more from Bass and see footage of the devastation above. Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou Herrera, left a frantic voicemail at around 9:30 a.m. saying they needed to get out. "We're kind of all shaking right now". "They do have a vehicle, but they both are older and can be confused at times".

"We are by no means out of the woods as far as the danger posed by the fire", "The amount of uncontained fire line is very large". Fire engines were not able to reach the fire, and firefighters were forced to hike in on foot and hose down vulnerable areas, while a firefighting helicopter hovered overhead.

People are now staying in shelters in the town of Chico, some 14 miles away.

Acting Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in the northern part of the state to help facilitate rescue and recovery efforts.

In total, the number of people tackling the flames number 2,289, using engines, helicopters, water and bulldozers.

In all, the Woolsey Fire led authorities to issue evacuation orders for 75,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Caitlin Jenner and Guillermo del Toro among numerous celebrities forced to abandon their homes.

Pepperdine University on Friday closed its Malibu and Calabasas campuses because of the approaching blaze. Three more were found outside a residence, and one inside a house.

The Los Angeles county fire department tweets that the fire is headed to the ocean, punctuating the message with the declaration: "Imminent threat!"

As of Friday morning, evacuation centers were set up at Thousand Oaks High School, at 2323 North Moorpark Road; the Borchard Community Center at 190 Reino Road in Newbury Park; and Camarillo Community Center at 1605 Burnley St. Some buildings caught fire and were damaged but the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokeswoman Jill Kinney said.

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