Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate several Northern California communities due to a fast-moving wildfire that exploded in size Thursday. Panicked residents are racing to help neighbors who had to drive through walls of flames to escape. It was not immediately known if there were injuries or fatalities. According to the Butte County Sheriff’s office, an evacuation order was issued for areas of Paradise, a town of about 27,000 people 180 miles northeast of San Francisco. Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart said the wildfire was reported at 6:30 a.m., affecting about 30,000 people in the towns of Paradise, Concow and other small communities. Carhart also said officials were sending as many crews as they could gather. The California Highway Patrol closed a nearby highway and urged motorists to avoid the area. The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings for fire dangers in many areas of the state, saying low humidity and strong winds were expected to continue through Friday evening.