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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

6 mins ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.