Flames from a backfire, lit by firefighters to slow the spread of the Kincade Fire, burn a hillside in unincorporated Sonoma…
Flames from a backfire, lit by firefighters to slow the spread of the Kincade fire, burn a hillside in unincorporated Sonoma County, Calif., near Geyservillle, Oct. 26, 2019.

Authorities in Northern California have directed 180,000 residents to evacuate as a wildfire continues to threaten the area Sunday.

Sonoma County has previously estimated 90,000 residents were being told to leave their homes as a result of the Kincaid fire.

"Approx 180,000 people under evacuation order due to #KincadeFire. This is the largest evacuation that any of us at the Sheriff’s Office can remember. Take care of each other," the Sonoma County Sheriff tweeted Sunday.

Millions of California residents, meanwhile, are facing power outages as the utility company Pacific Gas & Electric decided Saturday afternoon to begin mass power shut-offs to a large number of customers. The shut-offs will affect nearly 1 million customers, affecting nearly 3 million people, and include San Francisco, California's wine country and the Sierra foothills.

In the past month, PG&E has shut down power to thousands of customers in an effort to contain the spread of the fires. PG&E is in bankruptcy because of liability from recent major wildfires, including one last year that killed 85 people in the northern California town of Paradise. 

Eve Peteros helps evacuate Redwood Retreats, a residential care facility in Santa Rosa, Calif., Oct. 26, 2019. A Northern California blaze forced evacuation orders and warnings for nearly all of Sonoma County.


 
Forecasters said hot, dry winds, some as high as 112 kph (70 mph) could  last into Monday in the San Francisco Bay area. The National Weather Service warned the winds, often called Santa Ana or Diablo winds, might be a record event.

"The weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades," PG&E said.  It added, "PG&E will need to turn off power for safety several hours before the potentially damaging winds arrive."

"Winds of this magnitude pose a higher risk of damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread," the utility said.

In Southern California, the Tick Fire threatened Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles. Residents who had been ordered to evacuate were allowed back to their homes on Saturday. The fire scorched about 16 square kilometers, and forced the closure of schools and a major freeway on Friday. 

No injuries were reported caused by the Tick Fire.

Across the border, in Mexico's Baja California state, officials said wildfires killed three people and destroyed 150 homes.