"We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road," police officer Mark Bass, who lives in Paradise, told NBC. "It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us."
The sheriff's office reported that the five bodies, found in burned-out cars along the highway, could not immediately be identified and that autopsies would be performed to determine identity and cause of death.
Harrowing footage recorded Friday shows dozens of cars burned through by the blaze. Thursday reports said that people had been seen abandoning their vehicles during the evacuation, but officials' recent discoveries show that not everybody was able to make that escape.
These abandoned and burned out cars shows you what a panic it must have been for residents trying to escape the Camp Fire. Unreal scenes in Paradise, CA, this morning. #CampFire pic.twitter.com/AhBuWzS0Tx— Nick Valencia (@CNNValencia) November 9, 2018
Fire departments from surrounding counties sent their forces to Butte County, noting that over 2,300 personnel were on hand to combat the blaze and help victims.
A view from @NTFPD_ crews on the front lines of the #CampFire today. Over 2300 personnel are on scene to help #ButteCounty communities through this devastating fire. #MutualAid pic.twitter.com/aslznLfwg8— North Tahoe Fire (@NTFPD_) November 9, 2018
The National Weather Service has issued red-flag warnings for fire dangers across much of California, where low humidity and high winds create optimally dry conditions for a fire to explode into a conflagration, such as happened near Paradise on Thursday.
Utility Service Pacific Gas & Electric said Friday that about 25,000 customers were currently without fire due to impacts of the Camp Fire.
We can all smell the smoke in the air. We, along with several agencies in the state, have responded to a request for mutual aid. Sgt. Fortier and Officer Lopez (pictured) are stationed in the Forrest Ranch Area assisting with evacuations related to the Camp Fire in Butte County. pic.twitter.com/gfqzIwTO3y— WestSacPolice (@WestSacPoliceDe) November 9, 2018
Meanwhile, in the south of the state, the Woolsey Fire east of Los Angeles has scorched over 10,000 acres, tearing through the town of Thousand Oaks and forcing at least 75,000 residents to evacuate.