A fast-moving wildfire advanced to the outskirts of the Northern California city of Chico early on Friday, forcing thousands to flee after it left the nearby town of Paradise in ruins.

California wildfire leaves town in ruins

Two major fires are burning out of control, destroying buildings and forcing many residents to flee.

Tens of thousands of people were ordered to flee a fast-moving wildfire that exploded in size Thursday, threatening several Northern California communities and forcing panicked residents to race to help neighbours who had to drive through walls of flames to escape.

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, wiping out what a Cal Fire official said was a couple of thousand structures. "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 and works in neighboring Chico. He 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."

In Pictures: 'Chaotic mass evacuation' as thousands flee from wildfire in California

A fast-moving wildfire devastated a Northern California town of 26,000 people on Thursday with authorities unsure of the casualties as they struggled to contain 150-foot flames.

Northern California wildfires force thousands to flee Paradise as town burns

Tens of thousands of people flee a fast-moving wildfire in Northern California, some clutching babies and pets as they abandon vehicles ahead of the flames.

A Northern California fire grows at a rate of about 80 football fields per minute

Tens of thousands of people flee as wildfire 'wipes out' California town of Paradise

An official described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes and sparked explosions. ‘People started getting out of their vehicles and running’

'Camp Fire' inferno: North California town of Paradise 'wiped out' as thousands flee

Tens of thousands of people fled a fast-moving wildfire on Thursday in Northern California, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that destroyed hundreds of structures.

Butte CA Camp Fire burns homes, forces evacuations | The Sacramento Bee ‘The whole town’s on fire’: Butte wildfire grows to 20,000 acres as residents flee on foot

Evacuations and updates on the Camp Fire in Butte County, California: The wildfire forced evacuations of most of the town of Paradise, has destroyed homes and businesses, as firefighters work to contain the 20,000-acre blaze.

The Latest: Fire captain says wildfire destroys Calif. town

OROVILLE, Calif. — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local): 7:45 p.m. A fire official says the Northern California town of Paradise has been “pretty much” destroyed. CalFire Capt.