A fast-moving wildfire roared through a Northern California town on Thursday, with reports of fatalities as it burned hundreds of homes and sent tens of thousands of people fleeing 50-foot-high (15.25-metres-high) flames, authorities and a Reuters witness said.
Five people of the dead were found in cars in a town that was destroyed by the Camp Fire in the state's north.
A Butte County Sheriff's Department spokesperson confirmed authorities have received missing-person reports out of Paradise, but no count or estimate was available as of 7 a.m. Friday.
Also burning in Ventura County was the Hill Fire, which had torched 10,000 acres (4047 hectares) by Thursday night, fire officials said.
Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes in Ventura County, about 30 miles from Malibu.
Sadly, when 27,000 residents are ordered to evacuate in a matter of hours, there's little that can be done to ensure every resident gets out safely.
"It's a very risky and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told the paper.
The Southern California beach city of Malibu and its surrounding areas are under mandatory evacuation orders this morning as one of two fires that started Thursday afternoon in the region spread massively overnight, fueled by Santa Ana winds and ultra-dry conditions.
"Had he not put out that fire, I would not have made it to the auto", she said.
The Camp Fire has burned at least 20,000 acres in Northern California, forcing the evacuation of 40,000 people.
Evacuation notices were set for homes on the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people about 90 miles north of Sacramento.
Firefighters battle to save structures while battling the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018.
The Concow School sent its 60 students home, but many faculty members are anxious about their homes, said Golden Feather Union Elementary School District Superintendent Josh Peete.
"It is critical that residents pay close attention to evacuation orders", the Los Angeles County Fire Department said on Twitter.
"This is a very unsafe wind driven fire".
Malibu has about 13,000 residents - including a number of celebrities - and many have shared pictures of busy roads as scores of cars take to the roads in a bid to escape. "Just landed back home and had one hour to pack up and evacuate our home. My home is in jeopardy but. everything with a heartbeat is safe", she said. People in Paradise reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement center.