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Firefighters tackling massive wildfire in northern California

by ace

Northern California firefighters are attacking a massive fire in the Sonoma County wine region ahead of another major wind event scheduled for Tuesday night.

California's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, cut power to about 2.5 million people in the northern part of the state over the weekend in another round of blackouts designed to prevent wind-blown electrical equipment from causing more fires. And more interruptions are possible in the coming days.

The fire that erupted last week amid the vineyards and wineries of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, exploded to at least 267 square kilometers, destroying 96 buildings, including at least 40 houses and threatening an additional 80,000 structures, officials said.

Almost 200,000 people were under evacuation orders, mainly from the city of Santa Rosa.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency over the weekend.

The largest evacuation occurred in Sonoma County, where some people who were packing and fleeing Sunday did so two years ago, when devastating fires stormed Sonoma, Napa and surrounding counties, killing 44 people.

Hundreds of people arrived at Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa on Sunday. Some came from nursing homes.

More than 300 people slept in an auditorium full of cribs and wheeled beds. Many others stayed in a separate building with their pets.

A historic attraction outside of Healdsburg was lost on Sunday, when windblown embers sparked a fire that engulfed the Soda Rock Winery. The buildings included a general store and post office founded in 1869.

. (tagsToTranslate) Fire (t) California (t) Wine

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