"It was the event we have feared for a long time", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a press conference. "Regrettably, not everybody made it out".
Another blaze just west of that area, dubbed the Hill Fire, topped 10,000 acres on Thursday.
Maclean said an as yet unspecified number of civilians and firefighters had been injured, and that it could be days before authorities would know whether anyone had died.
Only a day after it began, the fire near the town of Paradise had grown to almost 110 square miles (285 square kilometers), and investigators found five people dead in vehicles that were torched by the flames.
A school bus was among several abandoned vehicles left blackened by flames on one road.
"Fortunately for us, it is burning into the old footprint of the Springs Fire of 2013, and the fire activity there has diminished", he told reporters Friday, adding that this has allowed crews to "focus a little bit more heavily" on the Woolsey Fire instead. "Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it's that kind of devastation", he said. One of them is just 5 per cent contained.
The L.A. Times reported that a total of 75,000 homes in both Ventura and Los Angeles counties are now under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders, including Westlake Village and parts of Calabasas, where numerous entertainers including Alyssa Milano and Kim Kardashian have lavish homes.
"Fire is burning out of control, heading into populated areas of Malibu".
Using data from various government sources, spatial analytics company Esri has created two interactive maps to help people track the progression of the fires and stay up to date on traffic and smoke forecasts.
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For the year to date, around 7500 fires have burned around 633,000 hectares of ground in California.
Evacuation warnings were issued for the area west of Highway 99 form 149 north to the Chico city limits and west to the Midway, and Highway 32 at Nople Ave.to the Butte County Line earlier.
It was also threatening parts of nearby Thousand Oaks in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, the site of the shooting massacre earlier this week.
Flames burn inside a van as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. But conditions there could change rapidly as the fire moves toward the coast.
Travel was limited on U.S. Highway 101 in the county, state highway patrol troopers said.
"Firefighters continue to actively engage the fire in order to protect life and property", the Chico Fire Department said in a Tweet.
Homeowners fleeing the wind-driven blaze jammed roadways as the fire crept closer to a community that is home to such movie and TV stars as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Ellen DeGeneres and Angelina Jolie.
Elsewhere, the Hill Fire in Ventura County's Santa Rosa Valley had charred about 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) as of Friday evening, according to Cal Fire.
At least 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles counties were under evacuation orders, and some structures have already been destroyed, officials said.