Evacuations were ordered for all communities south of USA 101, including the entire city of Malibu, where the population of about 13,000 includes many celebrities.
Even so, TV reports show homes, palm trees and even power poles erupting in flames.
The Los Angeles Fire Department reported at 7:53 a.m. Friday that a brush fire has also broken out in Griffith Park, near the zoo. Within roughly six hours, the fire had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), said Gaddie.
Cathy Fallon wipes her face beside her son Gabriel Fallon as she stands near the charred remains of her home Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Paradise, California.
At the hospital in Paradise, more than 60 patients were evacuated to other facilities. "It was the event we have feared for a long time", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a press conference.
When Paradise was evacuated, the order set off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got struck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot.
On Friday morning, gruesomely burned cars littered the side of the road. That was all before the Camp Fire escalated rapidly Thursday, changing the lives of not just the football team at Paradise, but the entire community forever.
Flames consume a home as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise.
A California National Guard official says 100 military police are headed to Northern California to help evacuate people.
'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.
"We never heard from them again", Lee said. "They do have a vehicle, but they both are older and can be confused at times".
On Thursday, acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California and requested a presidential disaster declaration, saying that risky weather conditions were expected to last several days.
It easily jumped eight-lane Highway 101 and rambled over the Santa Monica Mountains to posh Malibu, where it torched homes and cars. In recent days, warm, dry winds have swept Southern California, which has seen just one rainstorm in the past several months. People reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement center.
Among the celebrity homes reportedly damaged - if not destroyed - was the home of Caitlyn Jenner, who posted an Instagram video reporting that she was in a safe house, but wasn't sure what has become of her home.
Authorities were forced to shut down the 101, a major north-south artery, as well as the Pacific Coast Highway.