Thousands evacuated over fast-moving California wildfire

Santa Ana Winds in the Forecast Ramping up Extreme Fire Threat in Southern California

Thousands flee fast-moving wildfire in Northern California

The Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise evacuated staff and 41 patients to other hospitals, given its close proximity to the fire, said Jill Kinney, an Adventist Health spokeswoman.

'Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming, ' he said.

California is experiencing one of its worst fire years ever, with 621,743 acres (251,610 hectares) burned through Sunday in areas covered by Cal Fire, almost twice the amount during the same period of 2017 and almost triple the five-year average.

Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's largest utility, announced Tuesday it might preemptively cut power to eight California counties starting Thursday morning to prevent a possible wildfire, including Butte County where the Camp Fire is located. Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read said at a news conference that two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.

The blaze is concentrated in the Feather River Canyon off Highway 70 in Pugla, a town about 50 miles east of Chico, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced on Twitter.

The wildfire was reported around daybreak. "Once it got going it picked up very rapidly". Within roughly six hours, the fire had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), said Gaddie.

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Thick grey smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.

Large swaths of the state are under a "red flag" fire hazard warning, and the National Weather Service Sacramento office forecasts the blaze will continue through Friday night.

At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities and some buildings caught fire and were damaged.

Four hospital employees were briefly trapped in the basement and rescued by California Highway Patrol officers, Kinney said.

Driven by strong winds and dry conditions, the blaze dubbed the Camp Fire swept through the town of Paradise, burning part of the local hospital and possibly destroying over a thousand homes and other structures, county and city officials said.

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