Wildfire chars more than 18,000 acres in rural Northern California

A wildfire fueled by strong winds raced across communities in the Sierra foothills parts in Northern California on Thursday, sending thousands of residents fleeing for their lives, authorities said.

The fire, which was dubbed the Camp Fire, started at 6:30 a.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) near Camp Creek Road in Butte County, north of Sacramento, and spread rapidly, fueled by strong winds, fire officials said.

Its size had more than doubled to more than 18,000 acres, and it was at 0 percent containment, fire officials said Thursday afternoon.

Residents in the small towns of Pulga and Paradise, about 90 miles north of Sacramento, were told to evacuate on Thursday morning.

Kevin Winstead of Paradise fled town Thursday with his family — who had been set to move into a new home in nearby Magalia on Friday.

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