An evacuation warning was issued for parts of Chico Thursday night as the Camp Fire blazed toward the city of 90,000 people.
Firefighters worked through the night to keep the rampant blaze from spreading into Chico.
At around 9 p.m. an evacuation warning was issued for the area south of Highway 32 east of Bruce Road, inside the city limits, according to the Chico Police Department. Around the same time, flames appeared south of Chico, jumping across Highway 99 and burning on both sides of the road.
Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien told CSU Chico officials “There is no immediate threat to the city of Chico right now. The fire is being kept south of Highway 32,” according to a tweet from the university just before 4:30 a.m.
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At around 10 p.m. the Chico Fire Department was using a drip torch to set grass on fire in the Stilson Canyon neighborhood, just outside the eastern city limits. A fire official said the plan was to create a fire break along a road to prevent the flames from overpowering the neighborhood. Some buildings were damaged, the efforts appeared to largely have paid off Friday morning.
Earlier, at 8 p.m., the Butte County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for the area on both sides of Oro Chico Highway from Durham Dayton north to Estates Drive.
The area of Cherokee from Highway 70 to the lake south to Table Mountain Boulevard is also under evacuation order, as well as the area northeast of the city along Highway 32 from Nople Avenue to the city limits.
Evacuation warnings were issued for the area west of Highway 99 form 149 north to the Chico city limits and west to the Midway, and Highway 32 at Nople Ave. to the Butte County Line earlier.
East of Chico on Picholine Way, a line of cars crowded roads as people evacuated from that area around 9 p.m.
The Chico Elks Lodge at 1705 Manzanita Ave. has been opened as an emergency shelter, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.
Cal Fire spokesman Scott McClean said the fire is burning toward the city of Chico but he’s “not necessarily” concerned the fire will breach the city limits.
“We hope the winds will die down around midnight,” he said. “We’re still being very careful.”
The Camp Fire began early Thursday in Paradise, about 90 miles north of Sacramento, burning 20,000 acres and threatening 15,000 structures as it moved west toward Chico Thursday night, according to Cal Fire officials. The fire destroyed about 1,000 structures in Paradise, including a church and some buildings at a local hospital, according to Cal Fire and interviews with residents.
Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a Presidential Emergency Declaration to aid with multiple fires burning in California.
A Red Flag Warning is in place through Friday morning in the Butte County area, and winds are expected to gust at speeds as high as 40 mph overnight, according to the National Weathers Service.