Within minutes, her family and thousands of people were racing to escape the raging flames of the Camp Fire.
"The smell of the smoke and realizing the smoke was a lot closer than I thought and then seeing flames up to my knees".
The destructive Camp Fire has already burned over 18,000 acres of Butte County, Northern California as of Thursday afternoon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
About 3,300 students and staff members from Paradise's 11 schools were evacuated in buses and employees' cars to a center in Chico, Butte County Schools Superintendent Tim Taylor said. Officials have put most of Northern California is under a Red Flag Warning, which means "extreme fire behaviour" can occur within 24 hours.
Firefighters battle the Camp Fire as it tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday. Evacuations have been ordered in Butte County per CALFIRE.
Newsom is serving as acting governor while Gov. State fire authorities said they could not confirm the reports. The extent of the injuries and specific damage count was not immediately known as officials could not access the risky area.
The Redding Record-Searchlight reports that the evacuations have resulted in gridlock traffic on Skyway, the main route connecting Paradise and Chico, as people attempt to flee the area.More news: Danny Welbeck Suffers A Truly Horrific Ankle Injury In Europa League
"We're talking devastated", McLean said. The fire was three feet from my auto. The whole hill's on fire.
"I thought, 'If this is a piece of the Bible, this is going to be insane, '" she said.
But she was still a long distance from safety.
Heavy ash was falling in Chico, she said. The message I want to get out is: "If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate", he said. "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us".
His wife was trying the four roads that lead out of Paradise.
"We're getting them on other vehicles with room".
At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities and some buildings caught fire and were damaged. "She was finally able to get through there and I think they closed it right before she got out".More news: India gets United States waiver for development of strategic Chabahar Port in Iran
Percifield said that he drove off the road a few times in the low visibility conditions but eventually made it to a meadow that is maintained for residents to gather in the event of fires.
The fire, which began early on Thursday, was the fiercest of several wind-driven blazes across California, during what has been one of the worst years for wildfires in the state.
Evacuation notices were set for homes on the east side of Chico, a city of about 93,000 people situated about 90 miles (145 km) north of Sacramento.
Actor Rainn Wilson said that resident of Thousand Oaks, still reeling from a Wednesday night shooting in which a gunman killed 12 people at a bar before killing himself, were now having to flee their homes.
"Basically, we haven't had rain since last May or before that", said Read, the fire chief.
Fire officials anticipate the fire would reach the Pacific Ocean. The two blazes ranged from 2,000 to 10,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.
So far there have been no reported deaths due to the blaze.More news: Keystone XL Pipeline: US judge orders halt on construction