Record Winds Spread Flames in California's Wine Country

Nearly 200,000 people have evacuated
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2019 10:33 AM CDT
Record Winds Spread Flames in California's Wine Country
Flames from the Kincade Fire consume Soda Rock Winery on Sunday in Healdsburg.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

California's governor declared a statewide emergency with nearly 200,000 people ordered to flee their homes because of wildfires fueled by historic winds, while millions were without electricity after the largest utility cut power in some areas as a precaution to prevent other fires, the AP reports. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that officials are deploying "every resource available" to respond to the wildfires, including a large blaze in Northern California's wine country driven by powerful winds. Smoke from a second wildfire in the San Francisco Bay Area briefly halted traffic on a bridge. The flames came dangerously close to homes in Vallejo. In the south, a wildfire in the Santa Clarita area near Los Angeles has destroyed 18 structures, threatened homes and critical infrastructure.

The current wildfire, dubbed the Kincade Fire, began Wednesday night and is only 10% contained, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Sunday. It grew by almost 4,000 acres overnight to 30,000 acres and has destroyed 79 structures. The fire was expected to be especially unwieldy Sunday due to powerful winds. On Sunday morning, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts topped 90 mph in Healdsburg Hills North, a popular tourist attraction in Northern California's wine country. Winds could lead to "erratic fire behavior" and send embers for miles, Cal Fire warned. Wine country properties were burning, per the Los Angeles Times. "The next 72 hours is going to be challenging," Gov. Gavin Newsom said. (Newsom ripped PG&E and promised changes.)

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