Strong winds continued to hit California Tuesday after felling trees, fanning wildfires and cutting off power to about 25,000 customers in the north and central regions.
Red flag warnings of dangerous fire conditions continued in mountains, valleys, canyons and deserts due to dry and windy weather. Winds of 25 mph (40 km / h) with gusts of up to 70 mph (112 km / h) were expected through Tuesday afternoon.
Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to about 25,000 customers in 20 central and northern California counties to reduce the risk of power lines falling and starting wildfires.
The PG&E team was blamed for a 2018 fire that wiped out most of the Butte County town of Paradise. The company filed for bankruptcy and pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter. PG&E also faces numerous criminal charges for fires caused by its frayed equipment, including manslaughter charges filed last month in connection with a wildfire near the city of Redding last year that killed four people.
At least half a dozen fires broke out across the state Monday. Most remained small, but a fire west of Santa Barbara on the Los Angeles coast quickly spread to thousands of acres. The fire burned in a dense chaparral through an area of ranches, canyons, and parks.
The flames prompted the mandatory evacuation of El Capitan State Park along with campgrounds, cattle and horse ranches near Refugio State Beach, and US 101, the only highway along the coast, was closed when the fire moved. south to the ocean, the US Forest Service said spokesman Andrew Madsen.
Tweeted on the central coast, a tree fell on power lines in Hearst San Simeon State Park, causing a small fire in brush, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Windy weather is a nightmare for firefighters in a state where heat waves and a historic drought linked to climate change have left forests and brush dry. The fires that started in late summer are still burning after destroying hundreds of homes.
In the Sierra Nevada, the so-called KNP complex fires may have burned hundreds of giant sequoia trees in the groves of Sequoia National Park and were only 30% contained. On Monday, a firefighter with a hand-held team working on the fire was struck by a rolling rock. The firefighter was airlifted to a hospital and is in stable condition, fire officials said.
Strong winds toppled a tree, destroyed three parked cars and damaged a home in the coastal city of El Granada in San Mateo County, CalFire said. However, no injuries were reported.
The National Weather Service said the blown dust spread from the Sacramento Valley, through the San Joaquin Valley and into the high desert of the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles. Caltrans said sections of State Route 138 near the city of Lancaster in the Antelope Valley and State Route 14 were closed due to the dust storm and several overturned trucks blocking the highway.