More than 2,200 firefighters were battling the blaze, backed up by helicopters and water tankers. Yellow areas represent the fire perimeter.
"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.
Meanwhile firefighters operating bulldozers have been authorised to push cars off the road to clear a path and try to beat back the flames.
The entire town was ordered evacuated, setting off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got struck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee foot.
"Things started exploding", said resident Gina Oviedo. There were reports of people abandoning their vehicles trapped in heavy traffic, clutching children and running for safety under blackened skies.
It is feared some of the dead may be elderly residents who were trapped in their homes.
Kelly Lee called shelters looking for her husband's 93-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Herrera, who was last heard from Thursday morning.
Another resident told Jeremy Siegel of member station KQED that as she attempted to get out of the area, "we were engulfed in flames - both sides of the road".
'We're getting them on other vehicles with room. I've linked to both of them and provided descriptions below.
"This is a very unsafe wind driven fire". People reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement center.
Five people of the dead were found in cars in a town that was destroyed by the Camp Fire in the state's north.
By Friday morning, some 75,000 homes across Ventura and Los Angeles counties - and extending as far south as the city of Malibu - were already under evacuation orders.
Kim Kardashian, Alyssa Milano and Melissa Etheridge were among thousands fleeing from their homes.
Pepperdine University on Friday closed its Malibu and Calabasas campuses because of the approaching blaze. "Strange" director Scott Derrickson and the historic Paramount Ranch where HBO's "Westworld" and many other shows have been filmed.
President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds for Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
At least five deaths have been reported and as many as 2,000 structures lost in the Paradise area.
"F-ing Paradise is gone", she said.
At the hospital with the stranded patients, some buildings caught fire and were damaged, but the main facility, Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, was not, spokesperson Jill Kinney said. It's like we're all walking around kind of in a trance'. "The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office wants to provide as much support as possible to our partners and neighbors at the Ventura County Sheriff's Office as they mourn the loss of their own and deal simultaneously with protecting their community members from the threat of wildfires".