California Wildfires: Thousands flee after Governor declares state of emergency

The wildfire in northern California was sparked seven minutes after a nearby power line was damaged. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) said in a statement that a high voltage tower was reported damaged nearby to the where the Kincade Fire started.

About 40,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the state by wildfires driven by powerful winds.

The deadliest wildfire in the state’s history was caused by PG&E power lines. The company said it had not yet determined if the power glitch sparked the latest blaze, known as the Kincade Fire.

The utility said it had turned off power nearby over concerns that high winds could spark blazes, however, the lines were still working when the fire ignited.

The Kincade Fire, which started on Wednesday, has burned through 16,000 acres of land in Sonoma County. Roughly 2,000 residents have been evacuated. More than 1,300 firefighters were tackling the blaze.

Nearly 180,000 homes were without power on Thursday morning after PG&E shut off power in 15 California counties to prevent the risk of any accidental fires. Power was restored to 93% of customers on Thursday night, however, officials warn of more power outages over the weekend in regions experiencing high winds and dry heat.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Sonoma Counties because of the fires.

Schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District announced they would be closed due to air quality and safety concerns.

The wildfires are expected to worsen in southern California over the weekend.

Apart from the  Kincade Fire three other major fires are blazing in the United States. Tick Fire in Los Angeles County has burned at least 5,000 acres in the Santa Clarita region, the Old Water Fire in San Bernardino County has burned 95 acres, shutting off a major highway and  grass fire in San Mateo County, south of the town of Pescadero, has burnt about 95 acres.