Wildfire forces Sierra Nevada evacuations

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — Officials in Northern California say a wildfire that devastated a town of 27,000 is moving north and have ordered people in two Sierra Nevada foothill communities to leave their homes.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office says an evacuation ordered was issued Friday for the small communities of Stirling City and Inskip, north of Paradise, where thousands of homes were destroyed.

Cal Fire Capt. Bill Murphy says winds have calmed down in the valley but that there are “shifting, erratic winds” with speeds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 kph) along ridge tops.

The blaze that started Thursday morning east of Paradise and decimated the town also spread to the west.

It reached the edge of Chico, a city of 90,000 people Thursday night. Murphy says firefighters were able to stop the fire at the edge of the city, where evacuation orders remained in place.