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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Ferocious CA fires prompt statewide emergency

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Ferocious CA fires prompt statewide emergency
Ferocious CA fires prompt statewide emergency

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency Sunday as high winds and low humidity continue to fan devastating wildfires.

Lisa Bernhard reports.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency Sunday, as ferocious flames continue to consume Sonoma County and the Los Angeles area, prompting massive evacuations.

Wind gusts of more than 70 miles an hour fanned the flames of northern California's Kinkade fire, and the worst is not over yet, according to the National Weather Service.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) RYAN WALBURN, NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, SAYING: "In addition, in the firefighting world looks at the humidity values very closely.

The humidity values went down into the single digits, which is dangerously low for fire spread." A "red flag" warning, signaling an increased risk of fire danger, is in effect through Monday, with a Cal Fire analyst saying the threat of more blazes remain as embers are carried by the wind.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) CAL FIRE'S STEPHEN VOLMER, SAYING: "The problem is is when we have new start.

Those new starts are going to be very problematic.

They're going to have the same effects as this fire right here." More than 180,000 people have been evacuated and roughly 70 structures damaged - with some 30,000 acres scorched.

Utility company Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to almost one million people in 38 California counties in an effort guard against an electric short that could spark another blaze.

PG&E has drawn the ire of California Governor Gavin Newsom, who says the bankrupt utility is mismanaged and its protective blackouts are excessive.

The cause of the Kinkade fire is uncertain, but officials have said it erupted last week near the base of a damaged high-voltage transmission tower owned by PG&E.

Simultaneously, the Tick Fire in southern California has charred nearly 5000 of acres in the Los Angeles area, with hundreds of residents fleeing.


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