5 people found dead in vehicles torched by fire

Flames consume a car dealership as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise Calif. on Thursday

By nightfall, Paradise had been all but wiped off the map, with at least five people dead and its buildings reduced to ruin.

Butte County Sheriff's Office said an evacuation ordered had been issued for the small communities of Stirling City and Inskip.

Among the towns under evacuation orders is Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people in a rampage on Wednesday.

Mr Murphy said firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remain in place. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

A perimeter map shows the boundaries of the Hill Fire burning Friday in Ventura County.

In geographical terms, the current fire crisis is occurring in two locations: north of Sacramento, on a fire front known as the "Camp" fire, and on the north-western fringe of Los Angeles, where the "Woolsey" and "Hill" fires are burning.

Evacuations are now under way, with tens of thousands of people having already been forced to flee their homes, and hot and dry weather conditions are exacerbating the problem.

The Camp Fire began near the town of Paradise Thursday morning and by afternoon had destroyed about 1,000 structures in the town, leaving many residents fleeing on foot as the fire burned uncontrolled.

Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom has also declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles, Ventura and Butte counties.

"It's a very unsafe and very serious situation", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were located in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire", said a statement, adding that they had yet to be identified.

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"We are still reeling, but we are also very resilient", she said.

The video resembles nothing more than a terrifying escape from Hell.

"Heavenly Father, please help us - please help us to be safe", the woman prays in the passenger seat, choking back tears as their vehicle threads a path toward safety through billowing clouds of ash and embers.

"I hope people got out".

Flames consume a home as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise.

Captain Scott McLean, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also said there was "really no firefight involved", explaining the crews had to give up attacking the flames and turn their attention to helping people get out alive.

But with the winds returning, it's likely more homes would be lost, Osby warned. According to CNN, over 20 million people are in the way of the natural disaster, which is being fueled by a mixture of low humidity and fast-moving winds.

To the south, hundreds of firefighters have their own hands full with the Woolsey and Hill blazes. At least one family was grieving both tragedies, losing a loved one in the shooting and being forced to evacuate because of the fire all within 24 hours, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The fires, one in the north of the state and another to the south near Los Angeles, are moving fast, driven by strong winds.

The National Weather Service does not expect the gusts to subside until later in the day. "We were driving through fire on each side of the road", police officer Mark Bass said. Smoke from the blaze is already descending on the Bay Area some 240km away.

Residents reported miles-long traffic jams along the Pacific Coast Highway, which wends its way through Malibu.

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