Some 180,000 people from north of San Francisco were under mandatory evacuation orders, after wildfires whipped by fierce winds swept through the dry vegetation in California.
Tens of thousands of homes are under threat from the wildfires.
National Weather Service tweeted that winds reached 144 mph near a large fire in Northern California. Forecasts predict the high winds will continue into Monday morning. Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a statewide emergency.
The National Weather Service also issued a “red flag” warning for areas around the Kincade Fire. A “red flag” warning informs firefighting services that conditions are ideal for wildfires.
Tens of thousands of people were fleeing with with packed cars in a huge area of Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa. Sonoma has been ravaged by the Kincade Fire, which has burned through at least 30,000 acres of land.
The biggest power blackout in history is expected to affect over 2 million people.
Power companies are trying to stop damaged cables from triggering new fires.
In a statement Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) company said the power cuts would affect 940,000 households and businesses across 36 counties in northern California.
The Kincade Fire in northern California began seven minutes after a nearby power line was damaged, but PG&E has not yet confirmed if the power glitch started the blaze. The company is already seeking bankruptcy protection as it faces lawsuits over last year’s Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. The deadliest wildfire in the state’s history was sparked by ageing equipment owned by PG&E. It spawned billions of dollars in liability claims against the company.
State fire department said the fire is difficult to contain because fire was burning in remote, steep terrain, making access difficult. Some 3,000 firefighters are battling the blazes.
In suburban Los Angeles, the Tick Fire had charred 4,615 acres and was 55% contained.
Mexico’s Baja California state is also tackling fires. Three people died there and more than 150 homes had been destroyed.