The Latest: Flames not visible from Southern California fire

GEYSERVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in California (all times local):

9:50 a.m.

Flames are no longer visible from a wildfire in Southern California but mandatory and voluntary evacuations remain in place as Santa Ana winds gust through the region and create extreme fire risk.

The fire broke out early Thursday about 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino National Forest near the city of San Bernardino.

The U.S. Forest service says in a statement that firefighters have made good progress but have not established containment lines around the area where vegetation is still smoldering.

TV images have shown the scorched landscape with no flames apparent and little smoke.

The Forest Service says 80 homes are under evacuation in the city and a Red Cross shelter has opened at a high school.

Very dry air and strong winds are affecting much of California, including the wine county north of San Francisco Bay where a huge wildfire has forced evacuations and burned at least three homes.


9:20 a.m.

A fire burning in Northern California’s wine county is still growing.

But California Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Jonathan Cox says winds that gusted as high as 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour overnight have eased slightly since dawn on Thursday. That could help firefighters.

Officials ordered hundreds of people to immediately evacuate the town of Geyserville as the fire raged.

It’s not clear whether the area was also affected by the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. utility’s pre-emptive power shutoffs put in place to prevent the company’s equipment from sparking fires.

An Associated Press photographer saw at least three burned homes in Sonoma County north of San Francisco.

Cox says it’s too early for firefighters to assess the structures that have burned.


8:35 a.m.

The Southern California Edison utility has cut power to more than 15,000 Southern California customers as gusty Santa Ana winds sweep parts of the region and raise the risk of wildfires.

The utility is also considering additional power cuts Thursday to more than 286,000 customers to prevent wildfires ignited by downed lines or branches blown into them.

The moves came as a fire rages in the wine country of Northern California’s Sonoma County that has destroyed at least three homes and prompted the evacuation of the small community of Geyserville.

At least two fires have erupted in Southern California but they have remained small.


8:25 a.m.

Mary Ceglarski-Sherwin and her husband Matt Ceglarski-Sherwin lost their rental home in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa during a series of deadly fires two years ago.

Early Thursday, they and their two dogs were evacuating from their new home in the community of Geyserville in Sonoma County’s wine country with the 72-hour emergency kits they’d acquired during the last fire, they told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat .

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office issued orders for Geyserville’s evacuation shortly before dawn as a wind-drive wildfire raged.

Mary Ceglarski-Sherwin says at 3 a.m. she told her husband “we gotta go, we gotta go; I can feel it changing.”

She says they could feel the fire’s heat and see its smoke when they headed for an evacuation shelter.


7:30 a.m.

Northern California authorities have ordered the entire town of Geyserville evacuated as a wind-driven wildfire rages through the wine country north of San Francisco Bay.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office issued orders for immediate evacuation of the community shortly before dawn Thursday.

Geyserville has about 900 residents and is a popular stop for wine country tourists.

The fire erupted late Wednesday and exploded in size overnight to more than 15 square miles (39 square kilometers),

At least three homes have burned. There are no reports of injuries.

A statement from the sheriff’s office says: “If you’re in Geyserville, leave now.”


7:20 a.m.

An Associated Press photographer has seen three homes destroyed by a wind-driven wildfire that is raging through wine country in Sonoma County north of San Francisco.

The photographer reported Thursday that the homes burned in the community of Jimtown.

The fire erupted late Wednesday and expanded to more than 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) before dawn Thursday as powerful winds swept the region.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office says evacuations have been ordered but the number of people affected is not known. There are no reports of injuries.


12:15 a.m.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians are without power for the second time in two weeks as dangerously windy weather prompts safety shutdowns.

Pacific Gas & Electric on Wednesday and Thursday cut power to about a half-million people from the Sierra foothills to portions of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Outages that could last 48 hours seek to keep gusts from pummeling power lines and sparking devastating wildfires.

Northern winds are expected to ease Thursday but pick up where Southern California Edison warned it might black out about 308,000 customers. San Diego Gas & Electric warned about 24,000 customers could lose power.

PG&E blacked out about 2 million people just two weeks ago, drawing criticism. The utility says outages were more targeted this time, but more are possible Saturday with dry gusts in the north.

Categories: California News