Fueled by winds of up to 50 mph, a 5,000-acre fire threatened the town of Paradise in Butte County Thursday morning, prompting the mandatory evacuation of large sections of the town of about 26,000 people.
At least two California Highway Patrol units had their vehicles disabled and surrounded by fire, having to escape on foot, according to live dispatch radio traffic available on Broadcastify.com. The dispatcher can be heard sending fire crews to assist the officers at about 9:45 a.m.
The fire and evacuations led to gridlock traffic on Skyway in Paradise, with dispatch radio traffic indicating multiple civilians had also abandoned their vehicles. Several fire officials reported flames were about 15 yards from major roadways about 9:45 a.m.
Two separate calls to dispatch by emergency responders reported that a woman in labor for a “high-risk” pregnancy was in a vehicle on the side of Clark Road in the evacuation zone.