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A plume of smoke rises above the Camp Fire. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A massive and rapidly-spreading California wildfire ignited Thursday, and within six hours grew to 18,000 acres in size, according to Cal Fire. The fire overran the town of Paradise, forcing its 30,000 residents to flee by any means possible. Multiple structures were reportedly destroyed.

Thought bubble from Axios Science Editor Andrew Freedman: This is the latest in a string of fast-moving, explosive wildfires that has spread into a populated area on short notice. Similar to other wildfires from the past two years, this one involved high winds and near-record dry conditions. The fire is the latest example of how climate change is leading to more extreme behavior by making the combination of very hot, extremely dry conditions both more intense and more frequent.

Satellite image showing the smoke plume from the Camp Fire (gray) and the heat signature of the fire (red dots) on Thursday afternoon. Credit: NASA MODIS.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
The latest
  • The Associated Press is reporting that "several hundred" structures have been destroyed, however, "Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read said Thursday the destruction in the town of Paradise could be upward of a thousand structures."
  • According to the Chico Enterprise-Reporter, the fire has burned "up to 1,000 homes in the Paradise area Thursday and killed multiple people."

Editor's note: This is a developing story.

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.