These are the apocalyptic scenes as a man races to get out of a town being consumed by fire.
At least nine people are now known to have died in what has been called California’s most ‘destructive fire in a century.’
Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to nearly 140 square miles and destroyed more than 6,700 structures – almost all of them homes.
Many of the dead are people who were in their cars attempting to flee the racing flames.
Thick smoke can be seen in the air while everything in sight is engulfed by flames.
Police officer and resident Mark Bass described the apocalyptic scenes, saying: ‘We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road.’
He said he evacuated his family and then returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man carrying his bedridden wife to safety.
‘It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us,’ he added.
Firefighters admit they are being beaten by the intense flames and have turned their attention to helping people escape.
Residents spoke of flames approaching their vehicles on the gridlocked roads and said electricity poles came crashing down.
‘Things started exploding,’ said resident Gina Oviedo. ‘People started getting out of their vehicles and running.’
It is feared some of the dead may be elderly residents who were trapped in their homes.
Kelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband’s 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from on Thursday morning.
Mrs Herrera, who lives in Paradise with her 88-year-old husband Lou left a frantic voicemail to family saying they needed to get out.
‘We never heard from them again,’ Ms Lee said. ‘We’re worried sick … They do have a car, but they both are older and can be confused at times.’
The fire was initially small but has been fuelled by 50mph and tinder-dry forests.
People reported much of the community of 30,000 people has gone up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement centre.
Firefighters said that ‘pretty much all of the community’, which is 180 miles north-east of San Francisco, had been destroyed.
People are now staying in shelters in the town of Chico, some 14 miles away.
In total, there are currently 14 wildfires blazing in California and acting governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency.
State officials put the total number of people forced from their homes at about 250,000.
Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, which is home to 13,000, among them some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Caitlin Jenner and Guillermo del Toro among numerous celebrities forced to abandon their homes.
The blaze also destroyed the home of ‘Dr. Strange’ director Scott Derrickson and the historic Paramount Ranch where HBO’s ‘Westworld’ and many other shows have been filmed.
President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds for Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
In the south, flames leapt and raged from Thousand Oaks south through the northwestern San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and appeared headed inexorably towards the Pacific Ocean.
Thousand Oaks was already reeling from a gunman’s slaughter of a dozen people at a local bar only days earlier when it found itself under siege from the fire.
‘It’s devastating. It’s like “welcome to hell,”’ resident Cynthia Ball said about the dual disasters while she was outside the teenage centre serving as a shelter for evacuees.
‘I don’t even know what to say. It’s like we’re all walking around kind of in a trance.’
Three-quarters of the city of 130,000 was under evacuation orders – and that likely included people affected by the shooting, Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox said.