Wildfires threaten California
California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed frustration over Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) at a news conference today in Sonoma County, saying the utility company "simply did not do their job."
“We will hold them accountable,” Newsom said, referring to PG&E. “This is not the new normal, this cannot continue."
Newsom was in Sonoma County today visiting communities affected by the Kincade Fire, which has burned at least 21,900 acres and destroyed 49 structures.
Bill Johnson, the utility's CEO, said it's too soon to tell what caused the fire or where it started. An investigation is underway.
Some background: In recent years, PG&E has been under fire for the role its equipment played in a series of catastrophic blazes across the state, including last year's deadly Camp Fire.
Approximately 850,000 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) customers across 36 counties may be impacted by another Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) on Saturday, the utility company said in a news statement today.
If the power shutoff is needed, it would begin on Saturday evening and last until midday Monday, PG&E said.
“Predictive data models indicate the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations,” the statement said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Sonoma and Los Angeles counties due to the effects of the Kincade and Tick Fires.
Newsom will travel to Sonoma County later today to survey the damage from the Kincade Fire and meet with people on the ground in the area.
On Thursday, Newsom announced that the state has secured federal grants to help ensure the availability of resources to fight the fires.
Firefighters battling the Tick Fire will focus on containment into the weekend as they’re expecting a wind shift.
The Tick Fire remains at 4,300 acres and is 5% contained, with at least six structures lost, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Daryl Osby at a news conference today.
The number of damaged structures is expected to rise as officials continue damage assessment.
More than 600 firefighters are battling the blaze, which closed part of the 14 freeway. The fire damaged part of the guardrail, according to a captain with the California Highway Patrol.
There are 21,154 Southern California Edison (SCE) customers in southern California under a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), while 386,116 are under consideration, according to the utility’s website.
SCE is updating its county breakdown to reflect the new tally of customers without power.
The ferocious Kincade fire burning in Sonoma County has charred 21,900 acres and is 5% contained, according to Cal Fire.
The fire has destroyed 49 structures in the area.
The fire started near Geyserville Thursday just after 4 a.m. PT.
The Tick Fire burning in Southern California has burned 4,300 acres and is now 5% contained, according to LA County Fire.
The number of structures threatened is 10,000 and it is unknown how many are damaged or destroyed.
The sun is coming up in California this morning — and the wildfires are still raging.
Here's what you need to know:
- Nine active fires in California: As of early this morning, there are nine active major fires burning across California, CalFire told CNN. The Kincade Fire, Cabrillo Fire, Nelson Fire and Muir Fire are still burning in Northern California. The Saddle Ridge Fire, Tick Fire, Old Water Fire, Oak Fire and Palisades Fire are still burning in Southern California. Combined, nine fires have charred nearly 30,000 acres.
- The Tick Fire exploded to over 3,000 acres in just a few hours: The Tick Fire is burning out of control north of Los Angeles and has forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes, fire officials said. The blaze near Santa Clarita broke out Thursday and in just a few hours has burned about 3,950 acres, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. It was 5% contained by late Thursday. The cause of the fire is unknown at the moment.
- More than 18 million people in southern California are under red flag warnings: Extremely critical fire conditions will exist throughout southern California throughout today, and may threaten northern California into the weekend, according to CNN meteorologists. Red flag warnings are posted for over 18 million people across the region, including the Los Angeles and San Diego metro areas.
- The fire threat is not over in northern California either: Strong winds and critically low relative humidity values will be present throughout the Sacramento Valley beginning Saturday night into Sunday. A fire weather watch has been issued for over 7 million people in the region, from Redding down to Sacramento.