A sudden, fast-moving fire in Northern California forced a scramble of evacuations and road closings, burning at least 5,000 acres from a start early Thursday morning near Chico, about 100 miles north of Sacramento.
The blaze was threatening the town of Paradise, population about 27,000, where a hospital was evacuated and gridlock had forced some people to flee vehicles on foot, according to a report on Wildfire Today, a website that covers fire news across the country.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on its website that the fire, called Campfire, began near the town of Pulga, which is on the western edge of the Plumas National Forest.
The Butte County sheriff tweeted that shelters had opened in Chico and Oroville. A red flag warning was issued by the state for a wide area of the county, as strong winds and low relative humidity were elevating fire conditions.
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