According to state officials, at least five people are confirmed dead in a Northern California wildfire that began Thursday.
The Hill reported that Captain Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told reporters that the blaze grew so quickly that firefighters almost immediately shifted from prevention to evacuation.
“There was really no firefight involved,” he said. “These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday.”
The nearly 30,000 residents of Paradise, Calif., were ordered to evacuate on Thursday.
Paradise, a town of roughly 27,000, is known locally as a popular retirement community, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Butte County’s sheriff told The Associated Press that the situation was “very dangerous and very serious” in an interview Thursday amid the evacuations.
“It’s a very dangerous and very serious situation,” Sheriff Kory Honea said. “I’m driving through fire as we speak. We’re doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas.”
“We’re working very hard to get people out. The message I want to get out is if you can evacuate, you need to evacuate,” Honea added.
On Friday, the Butte County Sheriff’s department released a statement confirming the five people found dead in the town.
“Their investigation revealed that the victims were located in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire. Due to burn injuries, identification could not immediately be made,” Butte County Sheriff tweeted.
The National Weather Service has issued extreme fire danger warnings in many areas of California, saying low humidity and strong winds are expected to continue through the evening.