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200 000 Sonoma County residents under ‘largest’ mandatory evacuation ever as Kincade Fire grows, California

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A total of 200 000 residents in Sonoma County were put under mandatory evacuation on Sunday morning, October 27, 2019, due to the rapidly growing Kincade Fire which started burning Wednesday last week, October 23. According to deputies, it is the largest evacuation that any of them at the sheriff's office could remember.

The number of evacuees grew double overnight and is around three times the people who can fit in Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

Sonoma County divided the area into 10 zones, which are all under mandatory evacuation. This included the cities of Geyserville, Healdsburg, Guerneville, Sebastopol, and Bodega Bay. According to reports, the cities seemed like "ghost towns" by Sunday as residents followed the evacuation orders.

The Kincade Fire began blazing in the heart of Wine County in Geyserville, which spread to roughly 21 974 ha (54 298 acres) by Sunday night – almost twice the size during the morning.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for California due to fires and severe weather conditions, from the Kincade Fire to the Tick Fire in Southern California.

About 200 National Guard members were summoned, as well as 3 000 firefighters to put down the flames. No injuries have been reported in the Kincade Fire.

However, on Sunday, October 27, CalFire reported that 94 establishments have been destroyed, including at least 31 residential properties. 14 more have been damaged.

CalFire added that the fire was concentrated between the west side of Highway 128 to Highway 101, between Healdsburg and Windsor.

A portion of Highway 101 from Arata lane to Dry Creek road had to be shut down on Sunday before 10:30 LT since the smoke from the fire fogged the roads, posing risks to drivers.

According to CalFire, the winds gusted at speeds of 150 km/h (93 mph) n Sonoma on Saturday night into Sunday. Firefighters said winds with that speed can carry embers more than 1.6 km (1 mile) with a 90% chance of sparking fires.

In line with this, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) had to conduct preventive electricity shut down to a total of 960 000 customers, which is equivalent to around 2 million people throughout 36 counties. This move was the third shutoff this year and also the largest.

Nine fires overall were burning in the state, and this did not yet include two smaller blazes that sparked in Contra County and in Vallejo. Wildfire Today reported that these blazes were the Burris Fire, Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Fire, Glen Cove Fire, Crockett Fire, Summerlake Fire, the Knightsen Avenue Fire, Leon Fire, Rawson Fire, and Arnold Fire.

According to a spokesman for the National Weather Service, all of this is not over yet – another big wind event is likely to happen on Tuesday into Wednesday, October 29 to 30.

Featured image credit: @publiclandlvr

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