California Gov. Gavin Newsom issues state of emergency in face of wildfires

Photo: Gephardt Daily

Oct. 27 (UPI) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide state of emergency on Sunday as a pair of wildfire’s raged throughout the state.

Cal Fire said Kincade Fire burned 30,000 acres and was 10 percent contained in Sonoma County as of Sunday, while the Tick Fire burned 4,615 acres at 65 percent containment in Los Angeles County prompting Newsom to declare the emergency in a statement on Sunday afternoon.

“We are deploying every resource available and are coordinating with numerous agencies as we continue to respond to these fires. It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders and have the local state resources tehy need as we fight these fires,” said Newsom.

Human remains were found on Saturday where the Tick Fire ignited at least six houses in the suburbs of Southern California, authorities reported. As fire departments fight back the raging infernos, power outages are expected to impact an estimated 3 million people and tens of thousands of people remain under evacuation orders.

“This is the largest evacuation that we’ve had in Santa Clarita,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a news conference.

AccuWeather Reporter Blake Naftel, who is in Sonoma County experiencing the wildfires firsthand, saw many people spending their Saturday afternoon prepping their properties and evacuating.

Naftel interviewed a resident in Windsor, California, who was spraying his yard with the hose before leaving his home in hopes of returning to it in the same condition.

“I already lost one house in the Fountain Grove fire I’m not losing another one if I can help it,” Eric Schimmel said.

“Its nerve-wracking for me because I understand the ramifications, I’ve already been through this one. I know what it does to your life,” Schimmel said.

Schimmel said his kids are inside handling the situation ‘pretty well’.

“This must be a pretty scary thing for them but they’re anxious to get going and I’m anxious to get going too,” Schimmel said.

Two years after being scarred by deadly wildfires, Sonoma County is under siege again as thousands of firefighters fight to keep powerful winds from fanning the flames of the Kincade Fire.

As of Sunday morning, the Kincade Fire had destroyed almost 80 structures as 68 crews and a total of 2,830 fire personnel work to control the flames, according to Cal Fire.

On Sunday morning, the fire was encroaching Highway 128 on both sides in Sonoma County in Healdsburg. Reports say trees and power lines are down throughout the area.

New evacuation warnings were issued for 50,000 residents for the entire towns of Healdsburg and Windsor. This number is in addition to the 43,000 people already under evacuation warnings from the Santa Rosa suburbs to the Pacific Coast, just 35 miles from the fire’s current location. The evacuation orders now extend to the Pacific Ocean in Sonoma County, and there is a concern that fire may cross Highway 101.

Cal Fire said residents were to be out of their homes by Saturday at 4 p.m. PDT.

The fires have not only driven people from their homes, but have also impacted businesses such as the wine industry. Nearly 40 square miles of the wine-growing region has been burned as of Saturday afternoon.

The Tick Fire started on Thursday afternoon, exploding from 200 acres to 800 acres in less than an hour.

An estimated 50,000 residents were evacuated by Thursday evening, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.

“Last night we had the wind pick up and it burned an additional 700 to 800 acres. It breached the 14 Freeway between Sand Canyon and Agua Dulce,” Incident Commander for the Tick Fire Deputy Fire Chief Vince Pena said in a press conference on Friday afternoon.

Pena reported that 575 firefighters are assigned to the incident with additional resources available.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office earlier said the evacuation was the largest in more than 25 years.

The Kincade Fire had been 11 percent contained when the high winds began, pushing the flames beyond the containment borders.

“There were containment lines that were overtaken by the fire,” Cal Fire spokesman Brian Vitorelo told KPIX-TV early Sunday. “The fire continues to increase.”


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