The Latest: Northern California blaze nears city of 90,000

PARADISE, Calif. — The Latest on wildfires in California (all times local):

6:15 a.m.

Evacuations have been ordered on the edges of the Northern California city of Chico, which is about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from a town where thousands of buildings were destroyed by a fast-moving wildfire.

Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says flames from the blaze that devastated the town of Paradise had reached the eastern side of Chico, a city of about 90,000 people.

Authorities have said that at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured in Paradise. McLean said Friday morning that he had no immediate update on injuries.

He says strong winds made it difficult for aircraft to drop retardant effectively on the fire.

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12 a.m.

A fast-moving wildfire that ravaged a Northern California town Thursday sent residents racing to escape on roads that turned into tunnels of fire as thick smoke darkened the daytime sky.

A Cal Fire official said thousands of structures were destroyed.

Harrowing tales of escape and heroic rescues emerged from Paradise, where the entire community of 27,000 was ordered to evacuate. Witnesses reported seeing homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement home up in flames.

The fire was reported shortly after daybreak in a rural area. By nightfall, it had consumed more than 28 square miles and was raging out of control.

Authorities say at least two firefighters and multiple residents were injured.

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Source:: Nationalpost

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