- Kincade Fire: 76,138 acres burned; 15% contained
- Getty Fire: 656 acres burned; 15% contained
- A major new wind event could spark new fires or hamper existing suppression efforts
- PG&E has cut power to some 432,000 homes and businesses in an effort to prevent new blazes
- The National Weather Service issued its first-ever "extreme red flag warning" for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties
- Southern California Edison warned it could shut off power to more than 304,000 customers Wednesday and Thursday
People in Northern California's wine country were warned Tuesday they may need to leave "at a moment's notice" as powerful winds threatened to bring more devastation to areas already ravaged by wildfires. Crews battling the massive Kincade Fire fear the wind could fan the flames.
The wildfire has burned an area more than twice the size of San Francisco and destroyed nearly 60 homes. Six days after the fire ignited, firefighters were scrambling to put out hot spots in hopes of getting an upper hand before wind gusts reaching as high as 50 mph kicked in. CBS San Francisco reported the winds were intensifying overnight.
Pacific Gas and Electric blacked out about 432,000 homes and businesses hoping to prevent new wildfires.
In Southern California, where high winds fueled the Getty Fire in the early morning hours, authorities were manning their fire lines with additional personnel ahead of an expected major wind event.
On Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued its first-ever "extreme red flag warning" for much of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The warning predicts "damaging wind gusts between 50 and 70 mph," isolated gusts that could hit 80 mph and extremely low humidity.
"This all adds up to an extreme fire weather threat, meaning that conditions are as dangerous for fire growth and behavior as we have seen in recent memory," the National Weather Service said in the warning. The warning lasts until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Southern California Edison warned it could shut off power to more than 304,000 customers Wednesday and Thursday with the most powerful Santa Ana wind event of the season was expected to descend on the area.
A red flag warning will remain in effect for most of the Southland through 6 p.m. Thursday as forecasters predicted potential isolated gusts of up to 80 miles per hour and single-digit relative humidity.
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Wine country wildfire visible from San Francisco
The massive Kincade Fire in Northern California's wine country, in Sonoma County, can now be seen all the way from San Francisco and the high winds that were forecast are indeed back, CBS San Francisco reports:
Three reports of looting in Northern California as Kincade Fire grows
Officials in Northern California have received three additional reports of looting as the Kincade Fire rages, Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said at a Tuesday press conference. The looting was discovered when residents returned to their homes and businesses and found items missing. No arrests have been made.
"The Sheriff's Office is doing everything we can to get you back into your homes," Essick said. "We realize the anxiety there."
Three people were arrested earlier in the week for unauthorized entry into evacuation zones.
The Kincade Fire grew to 76,138 acres by 6:30 p.m. local time, said Cal Fire representative Jonathan Cox. Some 189 structures were destroyed, 86 of which were single-family homes.
The blaze was still only 15% contained. Cox said that after the major wind event predicted for Tuesday night subsides, he expects containment to rise.
PG&E workers facing threats, assault during fire prevention efforts
PG&E employees have been subject to verbal and physical assaults while working to prevent wildfires, PG&E president and CEO Bill Johnson said at a press conference Tuesday.
"Our employees in the field have repeatedly been the targets of misguided attacks, verbal abuse, threats, physical assault, and even weapons," Johnson said. "Today, one of our PG&E employees, driving a PG&E vehicle, was intentionally run off the road by an angry motorist."
"The men and women of PG&E you see in your community are there for a single reason, and that is to help you," Johnson added.
The company announced Tuesday that it is launching another preventative blackout ahead of a major wind event expected to begin Tuesday night. The blackout will impact an estimated 597,000 customers.
At the press conference, PG&E chief meteorologist Scott Strenfel warned residents about the expected high winds and low humidity.
"These are conditions that yield dangerous fire weather and potential for significant fires," Strenfel said.
Getty Fire caused by tree branch hitting power line
The Getty Fire began when a tree branch was blown into a power line, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Garcetti emphasized that the fire was accidental, and not caused by faulty equipment.
"We have concluded ... that this fire started when a tree branch fell on power lines, causing them to spark and begin this fire," Garcetti said. Garcetti added that he saw dashcam footage showing what he believes to be the moment the fire began.
"This was, simply put, in plain parlance, an act of God," Garcetti said. "The wind broke off the tree branch, threw that tree branch, because of the strong winds, far enough to cause a spark off a line that's still intact there."
Investigators from the Los Angeles Fire Department's (LAFD) Arson-Counterterrorism Section analyzed burn patterns, interviewed witnesses, and gathered physical evidence. The group determined that the fire likely originated on the 1800 block of North Sepulveda Boulevard, although it's unclear who owns the property on which the fire began.
LeBron James, Guy Fieri, and John Cena pitch in to help first responders
Celebrities including LeBron James, John Cena, and Guy Fieri have pitched in to help the first responders battling the blazes across California.
In Northern California, celebrity chef Guy Fieri served up lunch and dinner for Sonoma County firefighters, County Supervisor James Gore said on Facebook.
"This is the right thing to do and I am doing my part to help the cause," Cena said in the video. "I wish everyone the best of luck, please stay safe and you are our heroes."
Getty Fire scorches 656 acres, destroying 12 homes
The Getty Fire in Southern California grew to 656 acres as of 5 p.m. local time, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a Tuesday press conference. The fire, which has destroyed at least 12 homes, is now 15% contained.
Fire officials urged residents to prepare for what Garcetti described as the "most significant wind event in Los Angeles of the year." The wind will begin around 11 p.m. local time, and peak at approximately 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.
"It does take one ember -- just one ember -- downwind to start another brush fire," said Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas. Terrazas urged residents to register for alerts in case the fires spread.
Governor Gavin Newsom said that in the past 24 hours, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has taken down 324 fires. "I'm a very proud governor, because I'm very proud of this state and its resiliency," he said.
Newsom also announced that PG&E will be crediting customers for the power disruption. But he harshly criticized for the duration and amount of power outages, describing the blackouts as the consequence of "decades of a utility that didn't focus on you and public safety, but focused on shareholders."
Electrical malfunctions may have caused two fires
PG&E said two fires that broke out Sunday in Lafayette, less than 20 miles northeast of San Francisco, may have been caused by its own electrical malfunctions. Despite cutting power to more than 2.5 million people, the electricity was not turned off in the area because it wasn't designated as high risk, CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
"If we did go into a mode where we wanted to prevent everything from happening, then we'd have to shut the whole system down, and that's just not acceptable," PG&E President and CEO Andy Vesey told reporters. The utility also said it failed to notify 23,000 customers -- including 500 with medical conditions -- before shutting off their power.
"We're going to investigate all of this, and we're going to make a determination as to culpability," Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters.
Kincade Fire grows to over 75,000 acres
By 7 a.m. Tuesday, the Kincade Fire has grown to 75,415 acres, Cal Fire said on Twitter. The fire was 15% contained.
The blaze has destroyed 124 structures, the agency said, 57 of which were residential homes. Twenty-three others were damaged, and more than 90,000 were at risk.
The agency estimated that the fire will be contained by November 7, but spokesman Jonathan Cox said Monday that it could take "weeks if not months" to fully extinguish the flames.
Due to another wind event expected to begin Tuesday, more evacuation orders have been issued for residents on the eastern side of Sonoma County. A representative from the National Weather Service predicted winds of 20-30 mph.
Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said that a few individuals entered an evacuation zone near Geyserville with "criminal intent." Essick added that deputies made an arrest, and that the incident remains under investigation.
LeBron James evacuates house as Getty Fire erupts
The Getty Fire in Los Angeles has burned over 650 acres and was 5% contained, the city's fire department said Tuesday. Several neighborhoods were under evacuation orders, and at least eight homes were destroyed, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
A video posted on social media by a motorist early Monday shows one side of Highway 405 was turned into a towering inferno, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports. One of those displaced from his home by the several fires burning near Los Angeles was Lakers star LeBron James.
Senator Kamala Harris also said that her family in California had evacuated due to the wildfires.
Congressman says no "immigration enforcement" at shelters
A California congressman said undocumented immigrants should not be afraid to go to wildfire shelters. Congressman Jared Huffman told reporters Monday morning the Department of Homeland Security assured him there wouldn't be any "immigration enforcement activity" at shelters.
"Everyone seeking services or shelter from the immigrant community should do so with confidence that there will not be immigration enforcement activity," the Democrat said.