- Kincade Fire in Northern California: 77,758 acres burned; 70% contained
- Maria Fire in Southern California: 9,412 acres burned
- Easy Fire in Southern California: 1,860 acres burned; 80% contained
- Getty Fire in Southern California: 745 acres burned; 66% contained
- 46 Fire in Southern California: 300 acres burned; 85% contained
- Hillside Fire in Southern California: 628 acres burned; 95% contained
- PG&E says it's restored power to "essentially all" of the roughly 1.1 million homes and businesses it cut power to on Saturday and Tuesday in an effort to prevent new blazes
Crews were battling new fires Friday that erupted in Southern California. The Maria Fire grew to more than 8,700 acres in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles.
On Friday afternoon, the Sobrante Fire broke out, burning at least 35 acres in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, before officials said firefighters stopped it from making forward progress.
The blazes were among the many wildfires to explode in California during a period of dangerous fire conditions. Those fires have burned more than 101,000 acres in three weeks.
About 8,000 people were under evacuation orders for the Maria Fire, Sheriff Bill Ayub told reporters Friday afternoon. The fast-moving blaze descended upon small agricultural communities known for their citrus orchards and avocado farms Thursday night, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports.
"We are in the middle of a big fight," Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters Friday. "We are about a week into this, and the end is not yet in sight."
Lorenzen said his department has faced an uphill battle since the Maria Fire started around 6 p.m. Thursday. Five hundred firefighters were working to protect structures, he said.
"We are finding that the winds are starting to change, and that presents its own challenges all by itself," Lorenzen said. "As the winds shift, we have a whole new fuel bed that opens up and is subject to a pretty significant firefight."
Earlier this week, Ventura County was already facing the Easy Fire, which was mostly contained Friday. East of Los Angeles, firefighters made progress on the Hillside Fire, which destroyed at least six homes in San Bernardino Thursday.
Matthew Valdivia was asleep when the flames spread to his home. "Everything was just glowing in flames in the back of the house," Valdivia said. "I just woke up my wife, and I told her, 'Hey, get the kids, get in the car.'"
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Assistance center set to open for Getty Fire victims
The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Monday at the Westwood Recreation Center, 1350 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Residents can get assistance on topics such as replacing records lost in a fire, filing insurance claims and applying for disaster assistance, as well as information on property cleanup, repair and rebuilding.
Power line "re-energized" moments before Maria Fire started
Cal Fire said late Friday that Southern California Edison, which provides electricity for 15 million in Southern California, said it had "re-energized" a 16,000-volt power line minutes before a nearby hilltop exploded into the Maria Fire.
Southern California Edison said Wednesday it had an active transmission line near the spot where the Easy Fire ignited.
The energy provider acknowledged earlier this week that its equipment "could be found to have been associated with the ignition of the Woolsey Fire,'' the November 2018 fire that burned more than 100,000 acres of Ventura and Los Angeles counties and destroyed more than 1,600 structures.
Southern California Edison has also taken responsibility for 2017's massive Thomas Fire, which resulted in two deaths and burned more than 282,000 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and destroyed more than 1,000 structures.
Both Southern California Edison and PG&E, the state's largest utility, have shut off power to millions to prevent wildfires from spreading.
Widespread blackouts anger governor
California Governor Gavin Newsom has been critical of the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, over its decision to shut off power to millions because of the threat of high winds that could break power lines and spark fires. Newsom is demanding California utilities spend $5 billion in improvements, CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
"We've had decades of mismanagement, decades of greed," Newsom told CBS News. "This cannot and will not be the new normal."
PG&E resorted to widespread blackouts after its equipment was blamed for several blazes, including last year's deadly Camp Fire in Paradise, which killed 86 people. "We share the governor's commitment to safety," PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said. "That is our commitment, to safety, and we appreciate feedback from the state, from our regulators, from all legislators and stakeholders."
PG&E said it's doing accelerated safety inspections on about 50,000 transmission structures, installing more than 7,000 miles of stronger poles and covered lines and adding 1,300 new weather centers. The company said it doesn't know how much future upgrades will cost, but Newsom told CBS News he'll fight to prevent that cost from being passed on to customers.
"It's a new day of accountability, transparency, responsibility, and we're going to hold them to account in a way, candidly, we hadn't in decades," Newsom said.
Car crash likely sparked 46 Fire
Investigators said Thursday the 46 Fire in Southern California's Riverside County began at the end of a police chase, when a stolen car barreled through fences into a large open field, damaging its tires and disabling the car.
Heat from the car's wheels apparently ignited a fire that engulfed it and sparked a vegetation fire in the field. The car's two occupants of the car tried to flee on foot but were caught, police said.
All evacuation orders related to the 46 Fire were lifted Thursday night, according to Cal Fire Riverside.
Preventive blackouts "essentially" over, PG&E says
Pacific Gas & Electric said Thursday night it had restored power to "essentially all" the 1.1 million homes and businesses affected by blackouts it instituted Saturday and Tuesday in an attempt to keep its equipment from sparking wildfires as strong winds hit Northern California.
The much-maligned utility said it's identified 156 instances so far of weather-related damage and hazards that might have ignited blazes if it hadn't cut power, and it's checking out hundreds more reports of damage.
PG&E was blamed by fire officials Wednesday for two fires in eastern Contra Costa County over the weekend that led to a number of evacuations.
"We only had seconds to get out"
More than 700 firefighters were fighting the Easy Fire Thursday. The fire ignited just before dawn Wednesday, and flames raged into the night, fueled by wind gusts up to 70 mph, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports.
It quickly consumed a barn, where volunteers helped rescue animals trapped inside. One horse even seemed to turn back to lead other horses to safety.
Despite an all-out assault, flames still managed to jump a freeway, forcing a nearby neighborhood to evacuate. "We put everything in the car, and I'm so glad we did, " said Frank Rahimi of Moorpark, "because by the time it jumped the 23 Freeway, we only had seconds to get out."
Spot fire pops up next to fire engine as crews battle blaze
Crews in Southern California battled numerous fires Wednesday. The winds were powerful enough to knock over big rigs along an interstate, yet vigilant firefighters kept spot fires from exploding.
While CBS News correspondent Carter Evans was talking to Ventura County Fire Captain Anthony Romero, a spot fire popped up right next to a fire engine. "Just like that," Romero said. "What you got to maintain, for us, is just constant awareness that the fire is going to keep moving. We want to maintain our vigilance just because it is an active firefight."
"This will only get worse in the future"
"Since the early 1970s, California's annual wildfire extent increased fivefold, punctuated by extremely large and destructive wildfires in 2017 and 2018," the researchers wrote. "This trend was mainly due to an eightfold increase in summertime forest-fire area and was very likely driven by drying of fuels promoted by human-induced warming."
Over the past decade, average temperatures there have risen over 2 degrees Fahrenheit, but the moisture deficit -- the difference between the amount of water actually in the atmosphere and the amount of water it can hold -- has not caught up. Lower relative humidity causes brush to dry out faster, creating more kindling to burn when a fire starts.
"It's not likely to get better as we continue to warm the climate," CBS News climate and weather contributor Jeff Berardelli said. "This will only get worse in the future."