California wildfires: People are fleeing as blaze approaches Vacaville area, authorities say

Some people just west of Vacaville — a city of about 100,000 residents between San Francisco and Sacramento — were ordered evacuate as fires burned in the hills.

“There are numerous locations where people are trying to get out, and we’re working our way up to them,” a Solano County sheriff’s dispatcher told CNN. How many people are affected wasn’t immediately clear.

That fire is among dozens of blazes burning in parts of the state. They come amid a brutal heat wave and power outages — both intentional and unintentional — as the power grid struggles to keep up with demand.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency Tuesday to deploy resources to “combat fires burning across the state which have been exacerbated by the effects of the historic West Coast heat wave and sustained high winds.”
Horses stand in an enclosure Tuesday as the LNU Complex fires tear through the Spanish Flat community in unincorporated Napa County.
The Vacaville-area fire is part of the LNU Complex Fire — a series of wildfires that have burned more than 32,000 acres in the northern Bay Area counties of Napa, Sonoma and Solano, state and county officials said.
Just west of Vacaville, evacuations were ordered early Wednesday for all of Pleasants Valley Road and its connecting streets, as well as the English Hills area, the city’s fire district said on Twitter.

Excessive heat

The fires come as California battles what some experts are calling historic weather conditions. Nearly 45 million people across the West are under an excessive heat warning or heat advisory Wednesday. High temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity are forecast, conditions that will likely contribute to a significant spread of both new and existing wildfires.

More than two dozen wildfires were burning across the state early Wednesday, charring tens of thousands of acres in total. In Northern California, where some fires were started by lightning and have burned through more than 145,000 acres, evacuations were ordered in several counties as the blazes threatened structures.

Evacuation orders across California

In Monterey County well south of San Jose, evacuations were issued for the Carmel Fire, burning southeast of Carmel Valley Village Tuesday, CNN affiliate KSBW reported. The Carmel Fire has burned about 1,200 acres, CAL FIRE reported, and isn’t contained at all.
Late Tuesday, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office announced a mandatory evacuation due to another fire, the River Fire. The River Fire has burned through more than 4,500 acres and is about 7% contained, according to CAL FIRE. Both of the fires are in Monterey County, the department said, which is about 90 miles from San Jose.
California fire officials announced more evacuations late Tuesday night for the state’s largest set of wildfires, the SCU Lightning Complex.
A heat wave in California is fueling more than 30 wildfires. It may also leave millions of homes without power
That’s about 20 separate blazes burning in steep, rugged terrain, fueled by the extreme heat and low humidity, according to the department. More than 35,000 acres have been charred and two people have been injured, fire officials said.

And Wednesday temperatures, which fire officials say are expected to rise to the triple digits, will be no help.

“Firefighters look to take advantage of cooler temperatures this evening to build and strengthen containment lines across all zones,” the department said late Tuesday. The fires are about 4% contained.

Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Alameda County and Contra Costa County.

37,000 without power

Meanwhile, more than 37,000 customers were without power across the state, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) told CNN Tuesday night.

“Extreme heat and electricity demand has caused outages in parts of Los Angeles,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote on Twitter.

LADWP, the nation’s largest municipal utility with a total of 1.5 million customers in the City of Los Angeles, said approximately 12,000 of those customers were in the dark Tuesday night.

“The outages that we’re experiencing tonight are related to strained equipment in the field, transformers and distributing stations that become overheated which has led to many localized outages,” an LADWP spokesperson said. “Our crews are out there and will make progress overnight.”

Separately, PG&E said 25,717 of their customers are also without power throughout Northern and Central California.

A mobile home and car burn at Spanish Flat Mobile Villa as the LNU Lightning Complex fires tear through unincorporated Napa County, California, on Tuesday.

7 heat records broken

With an excessive heat wave across the state, California weather officials said at least seven temperature records were broken.

Summer's heat waves could get more dangerous in the coming decades, study warns
Burbank beat its previous 1986 record, hitting 109 degrees Fahrenheit Tuesday, while Paso Robles beat a more than 50-year record with a staggering 111 degrees on Tuesday. Camarillo, Long Beach and Woodland Hills were also included in the record-breaking areas.

In a Twitter warning, the National Weather Service said that “summer is hot, but this is different.”

“These are record high temperatures in what is typically one of the hottest times of the year,” the service said. “These are dangerous conditions that should be taken seriously to avoid heat-related illness.”

Historic fire scorching parts of Colorado

California isn’t the only state facing spreading wildfires. In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday he’ll be taking executive action to reduce the fire risks across the state, as several wildfires remain out of control.

At least four blazes have already burned through more than 130,000 acres.

The largest, the Pine Gulch Fire, was caused by lightning and has charred through 87,000 acres and was 7% contained as of late Tuesday.

According to CNN affiliate KMGH, it’s the third-largest wildfire in the state’s history.

The Grizzly Creek Fire, at about 27,000 acres, is 4% contained.

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