An 8,000-acre fire in Northern California's Butte County forced thousands to evacuate from their homes, hospitals and schools on Thursday.
Sky-darkening smoke from the Camp Fire in the Feather River Canyon near Paradise, Calif. on Thursday.
A local fire official said there were multiple injuries among civilians and firefighters.
"It's very chaotic. It's a very bad fire", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol said of the evacuation.
Authorities were working on a plan to remove patients from a hospital after rescuers had to turn back because of gridlocked traffic. Multiple motorists have abandoned their vehicles.
Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage and had minutes to evacuate.
He "knocked on doors, yelled and screamed" to alert as many residents as possible, Bernacett said. "God help us!" Bernacett said before breaking down crying.
She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety on Highway 99, she said.
The Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise evacuated all its patients and staff, given its close proximity to the fire, and transported them safely to hospitals in neighboring towns, Jill Kinney, an Adventist Health spokeswoman told the Associated Press. The California fire map also includes info about air quality, evacuation orders, shelters, fire containment statistics, road closures, and more. The fire was spreading at a rapid rate after it sparked around 6:30 a.m., expanding from 1,000 to 18,000 acres in a matter of hours. Her 25-year-old son has cerebral palsy, needs a wheelchair to get around and is fed through a tube. Officials have ordered the town of about 27,000 people 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco to evacuate.
Greer says heavy ash is falling in Chico, about 14 miles (22 kilometers) west of the fire.
State Highway 191 was closed at SR-70 due to the fire, Caltrans reported.
"It's got all the right conditions to have grown very large, very quickly", said Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart.
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.