5 people found dead in vehicles torched by fire

Evacuations ordered in Northern California as fast-moving wildfire spreads

In October 2017, some 21 wildfires burned almost 95,000 acres and 7,000 buildings in Sonoma and Napa counties in the heart of California's wine country, killing 40 people.

While no homes or businesses have been lost due to the fast-moving fire, a number of RVs and outbuildings have been burned and a firefighter suffered a minor injury, authorities said.

Maj. Gen. David Baldwin says other military personnel are studying satellite imagery to assess the scope of the damage and map the fire.

The Butte County Sheriff's office said the victims had been burned to death in their cars and could not immediately be identified.

The blaze dubbed the Camp Fire, swept through the town of Paradise, driven by high winds and dry conditions, with social media reports that a hospital, high school and K-Mart store were on fire.

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The National Weather Service had predicted unsafe 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. Firefighters were able to stop the flames at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place Friday, said Cal Fire Cpt.

"There was really no firefight involved", said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, explaining that crews gave up attacking the flames and instead helped people get out alive.

Image caption Smoke to the west of Los Angeles could be seen from the city's Hollywood area on Friday What is happening in northern California?

Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes in Ventura County, about 30 miles from Malibu.

Rescuers used a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out the way to reach Feather River Hospital and evacuate patients as flames engulfed the building, Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter told reporters.

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A Cal Fire helicopter picks up water from a reservoir while battling the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018.

"This fire is very unsafe, please evacuate if asked to do so!" He had tweeted about 200 times by Friday morning regarding the Camp Fire and people and pets reported missing or found, including some of their home addresses for use with the Red Cross registry.

The blaze broke out in the Hill Canyon area and in just 12 minutes jumped the 101 Freeway. "They do have a vehicle, but they both are older and can be confused at times". The town of about 26,000 people lost all power Thursday as the violent blaze knocked out power lines; Pacific Gas and Electric Co.de-energized some lines as a precaution, reportedly at the request of firefighters, a spokesperson said late Thursday morning.

The region has grappled with serious wildfires - including the worst in the state's history, the Mendocino and Thomas fires - on and off since 2017.

Fire officials characterized the inferno as explosive.

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