The so-called Camp Fire has essentially destroyed an entire town in the US state of California, forcing well over 50,000 people to evacuate. But the fire has moved so quickly that some people have barely escaped—like Brynn Parrott Chatfield from the town of Paradise, who posted this video to social media showing her family’s terrifying drive through the flames yesterday.
The video, published to Facebook, truly looks like something out of a movie. They’re surrounded on both sides with flames lapping at the road as they race to get out.
“I feel very vulnerable posting this but I feel I should,” Brynn Parrott Chatfield wrote on Facebook. “My hometown of Paradise is on fire. My family is evacuated and safe. Not all my friends are safe. It’s very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary.”
The fire started in the Feather River Canyon around 6:30am local time on Thursday morning and it’s still completely uncontained. The governor has declared a state of emergency and it’s believed that over 1,000 homes have already been destroyed, according to the Butte County Fire Chief Darren Read.
As CNN points out, over 2,200 firefighters are currently battling the Camp Fire and they face a tough rode ahead. The combination of dry conditions and high winds are making this a particularly difficult fire to fight.
Multiple fatalities have been reported but it’s not yet clear how many people might be dead. The exact number of injuries is also unknown and authorities still don’t know what caused the blaze.
A KFC restaurant burns as the Camp Fire moves through the area on 8 November 2018 in Paradise, California. (Photo: Getty Images)
How fast is this fire moving? It’s burning up the equivalent of 80 football pitches per minute. Residents in immediate and surrounding have already been told to evacuate. And emergency responders are doing their best to perform welfare checks on people who are unaccounted for.
“This fire did move through the town of Paradise quickly,” Paradise Police Chief Eric Reinbold told the local Enterprise-Record newspaper. “We’re very grateful for our partnerships with allied agencies, Cal Fire, our agency, the town staff worked as quickly as possible to evacuate, using our evacuation plans. And the things that we’ve trained for over the years. There is a lot of devastation in town.” [Enterprise Record and Lost Coast Outpost and CNN]