Butte County Sheriff officials in Northern California claim that five people were found dead in their vehicles in the town of Paradise. Reportedly the victims were in their vehicles attempting to escape the wildfires but they simply ran out of time. Last-minute evacuations, people panicking, and large traffic jams which are causing people to leave their cars behind and flee by foot are to blame for these deaths, reports U.S. News.
The vehicles with the deceased were found close to each other and near a roadway that leads out of Paradise, California, which has been largely consumed by fire since Thursday. Although not officially explained as such, this definitely seems to indicate that the motorists were part of the evacuation and were looking for safer grounds.
In a matter of hours, it became apparent how quickly the fires were moving due to dry conditions and strong winds in the region. While some residents of the towns located about 180 miles northeast of San Francisco left on their own accord Thursday night, the official evacuation orders in and around the area didn't begin until Friday morning.
Sadly, when 27,000 residents are ordered to evacuate in a matter of hours, there’s little that can be done to ensure every resident gets out safely. Not to mention how many roads were overtaken by smoke and made visibility impossible, while many others were lined by flames licking the pavement as people tried to safely pass.
As of Friday afternoon, the area affected has turned into a 110-square-mile inferno, with 70,000 acres lost, thousands of structures destroyed, and a containment estimate of only five percent.
Residents of the city of Paradise and other areas in Northern California are looking to flee the region, but with the Pacific Coast Highway and other vital arteries clogged it's unclear how everyone will make it out on a timely manner.
This is a developing story.