California wildfires: Five found burnt alive in vehicles after getting caught in the hellish blaze
Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said dousing the fire was futile and the firefighters are now helping individuals get out alive
Five individuals were found burnt alive in their vehicles after a North California wildfire spread rapidly, burning most of a town of around 30,000 inhabitants. The wildfire had flames moving extremely fast and firefighters were unable to get it under control immediately, said authorities.
Yahoo News reports that, just one day after the fire began near the town of Paradise, northeast of San Francisco, it spread nearly 280 sq kilometres and was completely out of control.
Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said, “There was really no firefight involved,” this was because the crew knew that the dousing the fire was futile and instead turned to help individuals get out alive. He added, “These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday.”
Wildfires were also raging in Southern California, state officials put the total number of people forced from their homes at 157,000. Evacuation orders were also sent out to most of Malibu, which houses many prominent Hollywood celebrities, around 13,000 of them. Reports suggest that Caitlyn Jenner lost her home to the Malibu fire.
When the area in Paradise was evacuated, it resulted in a huge exodus with many motorists getting stuck in major traffic. They abandoned their vehicles and decided to flee on foot. Many communities were seen go up in flames, including homes, business, restaurants and retirement centre.
Rural areas were a little better off. However, many homes with propane tanks exploded into flames. Karen Auday, a citizen who escaped to a nearby town said, “They were going off like bombs."
The blaze continued to spread north on Friday. Officials sent out evacuation orders to Stirling City and Inskip, two communities north of Paradise along the Sierra Nevada foothills. The flames were wind-driven and spread to the west reaching Chico, a city of 90,000 people. Cal Fire Cpt. Bill Murphy said, "Firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city."
On Friday, on the road to Paradise, there were hardly any signs of life except for a stray bird chirping. The sky resembled twilight though it was only in the middle of the day. There was a thick, yellow haze of fire in the air.
People who managed to escape Paradise gathered outside a church at Chico where they took refuge. Nearly all of them had scary tales to tell about their narrow escape from the fire that was so close to them. They said they could feel the heat inside their vehicles as they waited in a traffic jam.