California wildfire fanned by 70 mph winds leaps out of control near where power was cut

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Geysersville, California (CBS). – A fast-moving wildfire in rural Sonoma County, intensified by 70 mph winds, prompted officials to order evacuations, CBS San Francisco reports, citing Cal Fire. The so-called Kincade Fire, near Geyserville, quickly grew to approximately 10,000 acres, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office told CBS News.

The blaze was first reported at around 10:30 p.m. Some 250-300 people were evacuated, sheriff’s deputies said.

Meanwhile, in Southern California, a wind-driven vegetation fire dubbed the Old Water Fire burned between 50 and 100 acres with zero containment early Thursday, CBS Los Angeles reports. A spokesperson for the San Bernardino National Forest told the station the fire had “extreme potential” for large growth as Santa Ana winds began to pick up. Evacuation were ordered for portions of north San Bernardino.

The raging wind gusts pushing the Kincade Fire were among the conditions that prompted Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to shut down power in the North Bay Wednesday afternoon as a precaution.

The company told CBS News electricity had been cut in the area of the fire but it couldn’t say whether that included places where the fire was burning. Cal Fire said there were no reports of downed power lines in the vicinity.

Courtesy of Sonoma Sheriff Twitter

Evacuation orders were issued to communities east of Geyserville, Sonoma County officials said on social media. Evacuation centers were being set up at a local high school and community center.

Three witnesses who were driving late Wednesday night described the moment they saw the flames flare up to CBS San Francisco.

“We were just driving and then there was this red flash,” said Maria. “We all looked at each other like, ‘What is that?’ Living in Sonoma County, the first thing we think is the fires.”

“It seems like it’s something that is somewhat preventable, not to point fingers or anything like that at all,” said Victor. “It’s something that’s becoming almost routine here in Sonoma County during the season and stuff.”

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