Thou­sands flee rag­ing wild­fire

Daily Mercury - - WORLD -

TENS of thou­sands of peo­ple fled a fast-mov­ing wild­fire yes­ter­day in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, some clutch­ing ba­bies and pets as they aban­doned ve­hi­cles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames.

The wild­fire forced the evac­u­a­tion of an en­tire town and de­stroyed hun­dreds of struc­tures. Ev­ery­one in Par­adise, a com­mu­nity of 27,000 peo­ple about 290km north­east of San Fran­cisco, was or­dered to get out. The ex­tent of the in­juries and dam­age was not im­me­di­ately known.

Butte County CalFire Chief Dar­ren Read said at a news con­fer­ence that two fire­fight­ers and mul­ti­ple res­i­dents were in­jured.

As she fled, Gina Oviedo de­scribed a dev­as­tat­ing scene in which flames en­gulfed homes, sparked ex­plo­sions and top­pled util­ity poles.

“Things started ex­plod­ing,” Ms Oviedo said. “Peo­ple started get­ting out of their ve­hi­cles and run­ning.”

Chief Read said he had re­ports of sev­eral hun­dred de­stroyed struc­tures in Par­adise.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice is­sued red-flag warn­ings for fire dan­gers in many areas of the state, say­ing low hu­mid­ity and strong winds were ex­pected to con­tinue.

Pic­ture: AP

Flames con­sume a build­ing as a fire tears through Par­adise in Cal­i­for­nia. A depart­ment fire of­fi­cial says a fast-mov­ing wild­fire has de­stroyed struc­tures and in­jured civil­ians.

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