Wildfires raging through California have burned at least five people to death while they tried to escape the horrific blaze.
According to authorities, five people were burned alive while trying to flee in vehicles in Northern California. Although the people were trying to evacuate, the fire was moving at speed so quick, firefighters didn’t attempt to intervene.
“There was really no firefight involved,” said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday.”
With three fires burning around Southern California, state officials believe about 157,000 have been displaced. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu.
In the tiny town of Paradise, thousands of buildings and homes were instantly gone from the flames, which spread over 100 square miles. In homes that have propane tanks, explosions went off like bombs.
“Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed. It’s that kind of devastation,” McLean said.
The massive blaze that hit Paradise spread north Friday, prompting officials to order the evacuation of Stirling City and Inskip, two communities north of Paradise along the Sierra Nevada foothills.
A woman named Rita Miller was called by a nursing official on Thursday morning and given orders to get her disabled mother and flee the own. When Miller tried to take her boyfriend’s truck to get her mother, she found herself in a terrifying gridlock.
“I was frantic,” she told the NY Daily News.
After an hour of no movement, she got out of the car and began moving on foot. However, she was quickly waved down by another motorist who offered her help.
“I’m really scared, this is terrifying, I can’t breathe, I can’t see,” Miller remember thinking. “Maybe I should humble myself and get in this woman’s car.”
The stranger ended up helping Miller pack up her mother and taking them to safety in Chico.
The National Weather Service issued extreme fire-danger warnings in many areas of the state, saying low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through the evening.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)