(CNN)Powerful winds in California prompted a massive power shutoff to nearly a million customers while wildfires raged across parts of the state.
“The Red Flag fire weather conditions combined with dry fuels will bring the potential for very rapid fire spread and extreme fire behavior with any new ignitions Sunday night into Monday,” the National Weather Service in Los Angeles said.The Tick Fire, which is burning near Santa Clarita, had destroyed at least 16 structures by late Saturday and was threatening about 10,000 more, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. Farther north, at least five evacuation centers opened across Sonoma County as strong winds fan the flames of the Kincade Fire. Firefighters set a back fire Saturday to try to contain the Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, California.Winds and fire activity had picked up by Sunday morning, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said. More than 97,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. Read More”You need to leave now while you still can,” the sheriff said. PG&E shuts off powerIn an attempt to avoid any more catastrophic wildfires, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) began shutting down the power of about 940,000 customers Saturday night, citing a historic wind event in northern and central parts of the state. The number of actual people without power will be higher, since electric customers include houses and businesses. The company had announced the shutoff earlier this week, citing their forecasts of dangerous wind conditions. Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA firefighter sets a back fire along a hillside during firefighting operations to battle the Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, California, on Saturday, October 26.Hide Caption 1 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA line of fire snakes along a hillside as firefighters light backfires to slow the spread of the Kincade Fire near Geyservillle on October 26.Hide Caption 2 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaSodhi Singh closes up his Chevron station shortly after losing power in Healdsburg on October 26. In an attempt to avoid any more catastrophic wildfires, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) began shutting down the power to about 940,000 customers Saturday night, citing a historic wind event in northern and central parts of the state.Hide Caption 3 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA back fire set by firefighters burns along a hillside in Healdsburg.Hide Caption 4 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaSandy Beddow evacuates with her dog from Healdsburg.Hide Caption 5 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaFirefighters set a back fire along a hillside in Healdsburg.Hide Caption 6 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaFirefighters hose down a burning house in Agua Dulce, California, on Friday, October 25. It was affected by the Tick Fire, which broke out near Santa Clarity.Hide Caption 7 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaOrange County firefighters put out remaining hot spots from a brush fire in San Clemente, California, on October 25.Hide Caption 8 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA firefighting aircraft intervenes over Sonoma County, California, where the Kincade Fire was burning on October 25.Hide Caption 9 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA firefighter sprays water on a burning home in Sonoma County on October 24. Hide Caption 10 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA Los Angeles County firefighter monitors the area as the Tick Fire burns near homes in Canyon Country on October 24.Hide Caption 11 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaThe Kincade Fire burns in the Jimtown community of Sonoma County on October 24.Hide Caption 12 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA firefighter works the scene of a burned-out home in Santa Clarita on October 24.Hide Caption 13 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaBrandon Mani covers his face from the smoke as he walks along Highway 14 in Santa Clarita.Hide Caption 14 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA helicopter passes a smoke plume on October 24. Hide Caption 15 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA structure continues to burn after the Kincade Fire moved through Geyserville on October 24.Hide Caption 16 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaGeyserville, about 80 miles north of San Francisco, is among the communities under mandatory evacuation order. Hide Caption 17 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaTwo firefighters discuss a plan while battling the wildfire in Geyserville.Hide Caption 18 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaThe sun rises above a smoke-filled valley in Geyserville on October 24.Hide Caption 19 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaCrews build a fire break as the fast-moving blaze burns in the hills above the River Rock Casino near Geyserville.Hide Caption 20 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaA fire whirl whips across dry brush as the Kincade Fire spreads through Sonoma County on October 24.Hide Caption 21 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaTrees burn as the fire engulfs a hillside in Geyserville.Hide Caption 22 of 23 Photos: Wildfires scorch CaliforniaEmbers fly across a roadway in Jimtown on October 24.Hide Caption 23 of 23Customers in portions of 38 counties in the Northern and Southern Sierra Foothills, the North Bay and Mendocino, the Bay Area, the Central Coast and the Central Valley, will be left in the dark, the company said. Paradise, which was devastated by last year’s deadly Camp Fire, is also among the areas to be left in the dark.”This (public safety power shutoff) action is based on forecasts of historic dry, hot and windy weather that poses a significant risk for damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread,” PG&E said in a statement.In San Jose, City Manager Kip Harkness told reporters the city has a plan in place for the outage, which could affect about 90,000 in the area. Officials said the city has activated a “power vulnerability plan” that has been months in the works. Over the last weeks, the PG&E has been enacting preventative shutoffs all over northern and central California, but this could be the largest.Earlier this year, the company warned it could proactively cut power more often during risky weather conditions as a means of preventing wildfires caused by high winds downing live power equipment. The preventive power outages may continue for a decade, the utility’s chief executive said in a statement this month. This all comes after the company came under fire and agreed to pay billions for its role in the 2018 Camp Fire — California’s deadliest and most destructive blaze.The company previously said it’s “probable” that its equipment started the fire and an investigation by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection found the company responsible for the fire.Two fires scorch thousands of acresSandy Beddow evacuated with her dog Saturday as the Kincade Fire burned nearby. The Kincade Fire had scorched more than 29,955 acres by late Saturday and was only 10% contained, Cal Fire Chief Jonathan Cox said.About 77 structures have been destroyed –31 of which were residential — and 14 have been damaged, Cox said. “Fire’s not something you can fight,” Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said. “You cannot fight this, please evacuate.”In the southern part of the state, the Tick Fire was 55% contained and had burned through about 4,615 acres, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. The department said it was preparing for more wind Sunday and Monday.