PARADISE, Calif. - UPDATE: 11/9/2018 11:10 a.m. Northern California officials say investigators found five people dead in vehicles that were torched by the flames of a ferocious wildfire.
The Butte County Sheriff's Office said Friday the victims were found in the same area in the town of Paradise.
The fire has grown to nearly 110 square miles (285 square kilometers).
Paradise is 180 miles (289 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.
11/9/2018 9:40 a.m. The director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services says a fire in Northern California has claimed lives.
Mark Ghilarducci said Friday the number of deaths was not known. He said there are also injuries.
He says the magnitude of the destruction is unbelievable and heartbreaking.
The fire near the town of Paradise has grown to nearly 110 square miles.
UPDATE: 11/9/2018 8:28 a.m. A fire official says a Northern California wildfire has put 15,000 homes and 2,000 commercial buildings at "imminent danger of burning."
Capt. Koby Johns of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection also said Friday that about 2,000 buildings have already been destroyed. He described those numbers as "very elastic."
Johns says heavy winds continue to drive the fire but winds are expected to ease Friday afternoon, which could give firefighters an opportunity to start containing it.
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.
Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom is declaring a state of emergency in Northern California because of a dangerous wildfire that has destroyed homes and forced thousands to flee.
Newsom issued the declaration Thursday for Butte County as the fast-moving fire continues to burn around the town of Paradise about 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Newsom is filling in as the chief executive while Gov. Jerry Brown is out of the state. Newsom was elected this week to succeed the termed-out Brown.