The department said 30,000 people had been evacuated in the area and as many as 30,000 homes were threatened.
The so-called Camp Fire, which started on Thursday, has torched dozens of homes and put some 15,000 structures under threat as a state of emergency was declared in Butte County.
Fueled by winds, the wildfire jumped ridges from Pulga to Concow and down into Paradise, a town of 26,000 people about 85 miles north of Sacramento.
The area of Cherokee from Highway 70 to the lake south to Table Mountain Boulevard is also under evacuation order, as well as the area northeast of the city along Highway 32 from Nople Avenue to the city limits. "I don't know. When I left it was all on fire". Witnesses reported seeing homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement home up in flames.
The extent of people's injuries was not immediately known as officials could not access the risky area, 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.
The fire was reported shortly after daybreak in a rural area. Within six hours, it had grown to more than 69 square kilometres, Gaddie said.
"It's a very unsafe and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. We're working very hard to get people out. "That's when I made a decision to get out". "The town center is completely on the ground".
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As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles. "People started getting out of their vehicles and running". He was wrong. It was the flush of the Camp Fire around the town that made him panic: "I was waving down people just anyone on the road just help me because i didn't have a vehicle or nothing". Dramatic footage shows flames closing in around the highways out of town and thick smoke hanging in the sky, obscuring the horizon.
Shari Bernacett said she and her husband tried to get people to leave the mobile home park they manage in Paradise and had minutes to evacuate.
Fortune will continue to update this post as California's 2018 fires continue to rage. She said a group of 20 other patients were initially evacuated but then returned to the facility because of gridlocked traffic.
"We're getting them on other vehicles with room".
Chico police officer John Barker and his partner evacuated several seniors from an apartment complex.
Neighbourhoods, schools and hospitals have been evacuated while some residents in the town of Paradise were trapped by the flames, officials say.
Kelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband's 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from on Thursday morning.