Thousands of residents are evacuating areas in Northern California as an uncontained wildfire races towards several towns in the Sierra foothills. The Camp Fire, which started early on Thursday near Camp Creek, has been fuelled by strong winds and dry forest. Neighbourhoods, schools and hospitals have been evacuated while some residents in the town of Paradise were trapped by the flames, officials say. Authorities said there are unconfirmed reports of casualties. The Camp Fire has burned through 20,000 acres as of Thursday afternoon, local time, according to California Fire officials. As winds approached 50mph (80km/h), causing the fire to grow rapidly in just a few hours, some residents were forced to abandon vehicles and escape on foot, local media reported. Further south in Ventura County near Los Angeles, strong winds are preventing efforts to tackle another massive blaze – a few miles from the scene of a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks that claimed 12 lives on Wednesday. Evacuation orders are in place in northern California for the town of Paradise, home to around 26,000 people, as well as Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley areas. Emergency crews are working to rescue residents trapped there, he said. At least one nursing home and the Feather River Hospital were evacuated and several homes were on fire, according to the Sacramento Bee, and the region is covered with thick, dark smoke. A spokesman for the hospital operator, Dignity Health, reportedly told Action News Now that Feather River was later destroyed.