California Fires: 50k People Ordered to Evacuate, 1 Million Face Planned Blackout
California authorities ordered 50,000 people to evacuate amid fears that strong winds can make Kincade fire worse. Local power company is planning to cut electricity to 940 homes and businesses to prevent more blaze.
The evacuation announced Saturday affects several cities in Sonoma county with the sheriff’s office calling it the biggest one in more than 25 years.
People would have to leave their houses in the dark as PG&E announced it would cut electricity throughout 36 counties in Northern California for 48 hours or more, with blackouts affecting parts of the Bay Area and wine country.
The fear is that the winds, expected to reach 5 mph (120 kph) or higher, may make the fire stronger similar to conditions on 2017 inferno that destroyed the city of Santa Rosa.
"The winds are expected anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight and from all reports they're expected to be extremely strong," said Brian Vitorelo from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
San Francisco authorities have also warned the residents that even though the blaze won’t approach the city, the think smoke is likely to cause breathing problems over the week end.
The Kincade Fire has burned over 40 square miles since starting on Wednesday, and Cal Fire said on Saturday that only 10% of it was contained, according to Cal Fire.
"You can't fight a fire that's spotting ahead of itself a quarter of a mile, half a mile, in some cases a mile ahead of itself," Cal Fire Division Chief Jonathan Cox said.