At least five people have been killed in the Camp Fire rapidly spreading through northern California, Butte County officials confirmed to The Washington Post on Friday.
As residents of Paradise, California, attempted to flee the wildfire, several were overcome by flames while in their vehicles. Other fatalities have not been confirmed because "the fire is still active," officials said. The Camp Fire, one of three fires burning through the state, quadrupled in size overnight and wiped out all of Paradise, a 27,000-person town. The town was evacuated, though several residents reported there was very little time before the blaze overtook the area, and many abandoned their vehicles as traffic blocked the road out of town. Even without traffic, flames surrounding roads made for treacherous evacuations.
"We know that there have been injuries, and we know that there has been loss of life," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services. He called the destruction "unbelievable" and "heartbreaking." Crowded evacuation routes had Lt. Al Smith of the Butte County Sheriff's Office concerned that remaining residents and emergency responders would have trouble escaping. "I can't think of an area that's safe right now," he told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza