The fast-moving wildfire began early Thursday morning in the town of Paradise, Calif., a population of 27,000, and has burned through 18,000 acres.
At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities, some buildings caught fire and were damaged, but the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokeswoman Jill Kinney said.
The National Weather Service had predicted risky fire weather conditions in California because of Santa Ana winds, which roar in from the east and accelerate down California's north-to-south-oriented mountain slopes.
A wildfire is hopscotching across a northern California county at a rate of roughly 80 football fields per minute, forcing evacuations, injuring residents and sending families racing from their homes.
Some of the first responders that rushed to the scene of the second mass shooting in less than two weeks in the United States were also helping out with fire-related duties.
"It's very chaotic. It's a very bad fire", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol said of the evacuation. It's very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary.
Evacuation notices were set for homes on the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people situated about 90 miles (145 km) north of Sacramento.
Acting Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Butte County. "That's when I made a decision to get out".
A second smaller fire, dubbed the Woosley Fire, also started Thursday and has burned 2,000 acres.
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The Camp Fire started around 6:30 a.m. Thursday near Pulga Road at Camp Creek Road near Jarbo Gap.
Fire ripped through residential areas and flames leapt from hospitals and schools, according to a Reuters witness, who saw a auto dealership go up in flames on a street clogged with burned out vehicles and an abandoned police cruiser.
An evacuation order issued by the county extended up to the city's limits. "I don't know. When I left it was all on fire".
"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. They said there is room at the Oroville Nazarene Church and the Butte County Fairgrounds.
By 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Paradise resident Tanah Clunies-Ross said she could not see her auto from her front door through the cloud of smoke.
A hospital and several schools were evacuated as thick grey smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away.
The Camp Fire has burned more than 5,000 acres and is still very active as it is wind driven.
More than 20 million people are under red flag warnings from Northern to Southern California on Friday due to several wildfires across the state. The warning will remain in effect until Friday morning, officials said.
As of Thursday afternoon, two firefighters and multiple civilians had been injured, while a significant number of structures were consumed, according to Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read.