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Wildfires break out in California amid power outage

Wildfire rages in California mobile home park
Wildfire rages in California mobile home park 01:47

Despite an unprecedented effort to prevent wildfires, at least three of them erupted in Southern California on Thursday afternoon fueled by strong winds and dry conditions. 

Fifty miles east of Los Angeles, several homes began burning just as the power company was turning off the electricity in the area in an effort to prevent sparking a fire. Reports say one fire was near downed power lines in the city of Fontana.

In the hills south of San Bernardino, another fire broke out. Winds there were gusting up to 30 mph, hampering firefighters trying to protect buildings. This has led to 14,000 Southern Californians going without power.

A wildfire rages in Southern California CBS News

In the northern part of the state, hundreds of thousands of customers have been living in the dark since Wednesday when PG&E orchestrated a rolling blackout in a desperate effort to prevent its equipment from igniting fires.

Southern California utilities have been hesitating to shut down electric grids on a massive scale in an effort to stem a customer backlash.

Where to cut power has not been a perfect science. The power was left on in one San Jose neighborhood until high winds knocked down a line sparking a small fire. Neighbors arrived at the scene, first dousing the flames and saving homes.

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