Gov. Newsom Declares Statewide Emergency as Wildfires Drive 200K People From Homes

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.

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 biggest evacuation was in Sonoma County where 180,000 people were told to pack up and leave.

The fear that the winds could blow embers and spread fire across a major highway prompted authorities to expand evacuation orders that covered parts of Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 that was devastated by a wildfire two years ago. The latest evacuation orders came after Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to 2.3 million people across 36 counties starting Saturday evening.

"This is the largest evacuation that any of us ... can remember," the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office tweeted Sunday morning. "Take care of each other."

Meanwhile, another blaze erupted Sunday on both sides of a San Francisco Bay Area freeway and quickly spread, coming dangerously close to homes in Vallejo, which is 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) south of Geyserville where the massive Kincade Fire is burning.

A live broadcast on KGO-TV showed the fire on both sides of Interstate 80 near Vallejo and homeowners using hoses on a hillside to try and fight it. Smoke from the wildfire forced a freeway to close and the evacuation of California State University Maritime Academy. 

Evacuations also hit inmates at the North County Detention Facility in Santa Rosa and about 100 Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital patients.

To the south, a wildfire dubbed the Tick Fire destroyed 18 structures Thursday in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles. Nearly all the 50,000 residents ordered to evacuate were allowed back home after Santa Ana winds began to ease.

As of Sunday, the Tick Fire was 65% contained.

Potential Public Safety Power Shutoff Impacted Areas for Oct. 26-28

This map shows approximate outlines of potentially impacted areas. For the most accurate information for your address, use the address lookup tool.

Source: PG&E

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