Paradise is popular with retirees, and has a population of about 27,000. Around the same time, flames appeared south of Chico, jumping across Highway 99 and burning on both sides of the road.
When the order came to evacuate, it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents chose to leave at once, they said.
More than 2,200 firefighters were battling the blaze, backed up by helicopters and water tankers.
Richardson estimates another 60,000 people will likely have to evacuate because the fire jumped USA 101 early Friday and is pushing toward the coast.
Kim Kardashian, Alyssa Milano and Melissa Etheridge were among thousands fleeing from their homes in and around Malibu on Friday, as the fast-moving wildfire forced evacuations from the celebrity-packed area.
U.S. media reports that schools have also been closed and evacuated due to the fire, and animals have been moved out of the LA Zoo in Griffith Park. Within six hours, it had grown to more than 69 square kilometres, Gaddie said.
The dead were found in the same part of Paradise, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said.
"We're trying to get as many people out as quickly as possible and save as many lives as we can", he said. The message I want to get out is: "If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate". "The town center is completely on the ground". There were reports of people abandoning their vehicles trapped in heavy traffic, clutching children and running for safety under blackened skies.
Many abandoned their cars on the side of the road, fleeing on foot.
"It was absolutely dark", said resident Mike Molloy, who said he made a decision based on the wind to leave Thursday morning, packing only the minimum and joining a sea of other vehicles.
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"Just landed back home and had 1 hour to pack up & evacuate our home".
In geographical terms, the current fire crisis is occurring in two locations: north of Sacramento, on a fire front known as the "Camp" fire, and on the north-western fringe of Los Angeles, where the "Woolsey" and "Hill" fires are burning.
Officials said all the victims were found in Paradise, including four who died inside their vehicles.
"Anything to bring more attention to Paradise". Next thing you know their house is on fire. "My home is in jeopardy but. everything with a heartbeat is safe", she said.
"It's very chaotic", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol.
A Cal Fire spokesman said around 2,000 buildings were believed to have been razed in Paradise.
"I hope people got out".
'We never heard from them again, ' Ms Lee said. "We're anxious sick. They do have a auto, but they both are older and can be confused at times".
The Los Angeles County, Ventura County and L.A. city fire departments are working the blaze. One of them is just 5 per cent contained. The wildfire then finally ran into its only match so far: the Pacific Ocean, the Washington Post reported. But winds are blamed for pushing the fire through scenic canyon communities and ridgetop homes.