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Massive wildfire in California prompts evacuation

More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze in Sonoma County, but their overnight efforts could only focus on evacuations and the high winds made the fire difficult to contain.

SNS | New Delhi |

About 2,000 people living in Northern California have been ordered after a massive wildfire dubbed the ‘Kincade Fire’ exploded in size late on Thursday.

The Kincade Fire ignited night in Sonoma County and burned 16,000 acres. It was fueled in part by high winds that had already prompted California electric utilities to intentionally cut power to thousands of residents.

According to Cal Fire, the blaze claimed 49 structures and it is still unclear how many of those were lost homes.

More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze in Sonoma County, but their overnight efforts could only focus on evacuations and the high winds made the fire difficult to contain.

“Our aircraft can’t drop in those conditions. When you have that kind of wind speed, the resistance to control is beyond our capabilities. Because of the terrain and fuel conditions and the heat and humidity, the containment is still very challenging.” Mark Parks with Cal Fire told local KCRA news channel.

On Thursday evening, the flames had spread to 0.8 sq.km within 20 minutes and scorched over 3.4 sq.km.

The fire came amid red flag warnings issued for some areas in Southern California due to extreme wildfire risk.

Southern California Edison (SCE), another utility in that part of the state, shut off power to more than 15,000 customers in Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Farther south, more than 320 customers in Descanso and Alpine lost power after San Diego Gas & Electric turned it off, citing “high winds and dangerous weather conditions.”

(With inputs from IANS)