By DON THOMPSON and JOCELYN GECKER

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — A fast-moving wildfire that ravaged a Northern California town Thursday sent residents racing to escape on roads that turned into tunnels of fire as thick smoke darkened the daytime sky. Several thousand buildings were destroyed by flames, a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection official said.

“We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road,” said police officer Mark Bass, who lives in the hard-hit town of Paradise, where harrowing tales of escape and heroic rescues emerged after the entire community of 27,000 was ordered to evacuate.

Witnesses reported seeing homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement home up in flames.

Bass evacuated his family and then returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man trying to carry his bedridden wife to safety.

“It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us,” Bass said.

Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean estimated that several thousand buildings were in Paradise, which is about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

“Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it’s that kind …read more

Source:: East Bay – Science

      

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