Walls of flames are quickly ripping the Northern California city of Redding, where an "out of control" fire has killed one person and is forcing thousands of residents out of their homes.
The Carr Fire tore through nearby Shasta and Whiskeytown destroying homes and other buildings before charging into Redding, a city of about 92,000.
As of dawn, Cal Fire said the Carr Fire had grown to 44,450 acres and was just 3 percent contained.
Winds were forecast to reach speeds of 25 miles (40 km) per hour, with temperatures reaching 110 Fahrenheit (43 Celsius), conditions that could fan the flames further.
A bulldozer operator was killed in the so-called Carr Fire, a blaze in Shasta County that has tripled in size in the last two days to 28,000 acres (11,300 hectares), the state's forestry and fire protection department said.
Cal Fire confirmed one fatality Thursday evening.
The operator, who has not been identified, is the state's second fire-related death in recent weeks.
Three firefighters and an unknown number of civilians had burns, but the extent of their injuries wasn't immediately known, McLean said.
More than 700 firefighters are battling that blaze, which has scorched 4,700 acres and is only 5% contained, officials with the San Bernardino National Forest said.
"The fire is creating a huge wind vacuum and moving very rapidly toward west Redding".
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A shockingly fast-spreading fire overtook the Northern California city of Redding - with a population of about 90,000 - and forced its evacuation Thursday night.
Residents in the western part of Redding who hadn't been under evacuation orders were caught off guard and had to flee with little notice, causing miles-long traffic jams as flames turned the skies orange.
"You go there and expect the fresh air and it was the total opposite of that", she said Thursday. "We are going to leave the station because it is now unsafe to be here".
Redding hospital has been evacuated - with at least five infants being rushed out and some babies being airlifted to hospitals in Sacramento.
About 3,200 people were asked to evacuate more than 2,000 homes in the Idyllwild, Apple Canyon, Lake Hemet, Mountain Center, Hurkey Creek and Camp Scherman areas, according to the Forest Service.
Medics and hospital staff have been affected by the fire as well.
"Several staff members have evacuated their own homes then returned to care for patients", he said. A Cal Fire spokesman could only confirm portions of west Redding were under evacuation. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Riverside County Thursday as the destructive Cranston Fire continued to spread one day after it was allegedly sparked by an arsonist in the Idyllwild area, KTLA reported.
The Carr Fire burns along Highway 299 in Redding, Calif., July 26, 2018.
On Thursday night local time (early morning BST), the fire suddenly exploded, growing more and more out of control.
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