“I said, ‘That’s not the moon. That’s the sun,’ ” he recalled, his voice breaking. “There were times when there were flames near the vehicles. There were times when you couldn’t see through the smoke. Some of our teachers didn’t think they’d survive.”
About 23.4 million Californians were under red-flag warnings into Friday, and officials warned that flames could reach the city of Chico, a college town of more than 90,000 about six miles from Paradise. People scrambled to evacuate.
The Camp Fire had covered 110 square miles and was just 5 percent contained as of Friday, state officials said, warning that there might be additional deaths that they cannot confirm until they can safely enter smoldering neighborhoods. It is a terrifying situation for family members of residents who were last heard from when the town and others nearby were ordered evacuated.