"There are times when you have such rapid-moving fires.no amount of planning is going to result in a flawless scenario, and that's what we had to deal with here", Honea told the Action News Network.
He said: "The town is devastated, everything is destroyed".
Meanwhile firefighters operating bulldozers have been authorised to push cars off the road to clear a path and try to beat back the flames.
Elsewhere, fire officials say evacuations due to a raging Southern California wildfire are expected to reach about 148,000 and structural losses are expected to be significant.
"It's very chaotic. It's a very bad fire", Officer Ryan Lambert of the California Highway Patrol said of the evacuation.
Videos of the area posted on social media showed cars driving along what appeared to be a tunnel of flame, while others depicted untouched lawns or buildings set against a backdrop of deep orange, the fire racing towards people's homes.
When the order came to evacuate, it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents made a decision to leave at once, they said. People reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement center.
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By 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Paradise resident Tanah Clunies-Ross said she could not see her vehicle from her front door through the cloud of smoke.
Some motorists abandoned their cars and ran for their lives with children and pets in their arms.
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.
Acting Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in the northern part of the state to help facilitate rescue and recovery efforts.
The Ventura County Fire Department said the "Woolsey Fire" had burned around 35,000 acres, and evacuation orders were issued for some 88,000 homes in the county and neighboring Los Angeles County. Per USA Today, the three fires stretched a combined area of 33,000 acres as of Friday.
The vehicles with the deceased were found close to each other and near a roadway that leads out of Paradise, California, which has been largely consumed by fire since Thursday.
Four more people were killed in the devastating wildfire that continued to tear through a northern California county - raising the death toll to nine, authorities said Friday night.
About 20 of the same deputies who were helping to find and rescue people lost their own homes, Sheriff Kory Honea said.
The nearby Hill Fire covered about 4,000 hectares, according to Cal Fire.
Among them was Kim Curtis, who was searching for her grandmother, who told family at 8 a.m. Thursday that she would flee her Paradise home in her Buick with her cat.