PHOTOS: California wildfires force evacuations

The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Close to 200,000 Northern California residents, many of them left in the dark by a third power shutdown in a month, have been ordered to leave their homes as historic winds fueled an explosion of wildfires in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, shut off power to an estimated 2.3 million people across 38 counties starting Saturday evening in an effort to avoid having its equipment spark fires amid dry conditions and powerful winds.

A similar precautionary move did not prevent the Kincade Fire from igniting late Wednesday, and early indications point to malfunctioning PG&E equipment as the cause of it.

Firefighters try to save a home on Tigertail Road from the Getty fire, Oct. 28, 2019, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa/AP)

On Sunday afternoon, PG&E announced it's monitoring another extreme-wind event that could trigger yet another power outage Tuesday and Wednesday, the third such blackout in a week and fourth in October. Up to 32 counties in Northern and Central California could be affected.

The Kincade Fire has now grown to 54,298 acres and was only 5% contained as of 7:10 p.m. PDT Sunday, forcing authorities to impose mandatory evacuations for 180,000 residents in Sonoma County, best known for its wine production.

Flames also flared on both sides of Interstate 80 near the Carquinez Bridge in Vallejo, 20 miles north of Oakland, forcing the freeway to be temporarily shut down in both directions and the nearby California State University Maritime Academy to be evacuated.

California National Guard Sgt. Carranza mans a checkpoint in unincorporated Sonoma County, Calif., near Healdsburg on Sunday, Oct 27, 2019. To prevent its power lines from sparking in the high winds and setting off more blazes, Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to 2.3 million people across 30 some counties this weekend. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

A stretch of two interstate highways was also closed for a while in the state capital of Sacramento because of a grass fire whose smoke impaired visibility for drivers.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency as the extreme weather conditions significantly heightened the risk of wildfires .

Concerns that the winds could blow embers and spread the Kincade Fire across a major highway prompted the evacuation orders covering parts of Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 that was devastated by wine country fires two years ago. (USA Today)

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A firefighter battles a wildfire called the Kincade Fire in Healdsburg, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. With ferocious winds driving multiple wildfires through bone-dry vegetation and nearly 200,000 people ordered to leave their homes, California's governor declared a statewide emergency Sunday. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)
Firefighters battle a wildfire called the Kincade Fire on Chalk Hill Road in Healdsburg, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)
A firefighter from San Matteo helps fight the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Ethan Swope/AP)
Firefighters try to save a home on Tigertail Road during the Getty fire, Oct. 28, 2019, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa/AP)
A firefighter gives orders as he battles the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
Firefighters work to contain a burning structure during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A firefighter runs along a dirt road during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A firefighter walks through thick smoke illuminated by fire engine lights and embers during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A horse statue is silhouetted by a burning structure during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A firefighter gestures and hurries a man to direct a fire engine into position during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A burning structure is seen during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A fire engine drives on a road with active fire on both sides during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
Firefighters remove a flag off a barn, as the wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A burning structure is seen during the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, Oct. 27, 2019.(Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California,Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
The wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A firefighter with a flashlight is pictured as the wind driven Kincade fire burns near the town of Healdsburg, California, Oct. 27, 2019. (Photo: Stephen Lam/Reuters)
A firefighter battles a fire, as a wind driven wildfire continues to burn in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles, California, Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)
Firefighters battle a fire, as a wind driven wildfire continues to burn in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles, California, Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)
A wind driven wildfire continues to burn in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles, California, Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)
A wind driven wildfire continues to burn in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles, California, Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)
A helicopter makes a water drop, as a wind driven wildfire continues to burn in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles, California, Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)
Firefighters battle a fire, as a wind driven wildfire continues to burn in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles, California, Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)

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