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Emergency declared as massive wildfires erupt in California

SACRAMENTO, USA: California authorities have declared a state of emergency in response to raging wildfires and ordered more than 180,000 people to evacuate and. More than two million people have been left without electricity across the US state.

Governor Gavin Newsom said on Sunday California was deploying every resource available to fight multiple wildfires as thousands of firefighters were struggling to control the flames.

Newsom declared a state of emergency due to unprecedented high winds fueling the spread of the fires through dry vegetation. Around 180,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from Sonoma County north of San Francisco.

“It is critical that people in evacuation zones heed the warnings from officials and first responders,” he said in a statement.

The Kincade fire has grown to 220 square kilometres and destroyed 94 buildings in Sonoma County since it erupted on Wednesday. Only 10% of it had been contained by Sunday, according to officials.

In the south of the state, another major blaze dubbed Tick Fire also prompted evacuations around Santa Clarita area near Los Angeles in recent days. Several smaller fires have also been reported.

The cause of the fires was not immediately known, but Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) power company said one of their high-voltage transmission lines malfunctioned minutes before the Kincade fire started in the same area.

PG&E started cutting power on Thursday to reduce further risks. By Sunday, some 2.3 million residents were left without electricity.

Weather experts predicted powerful gusts of winds on Sunday, reaching 129 kilometres per hour on hillsides. The high winds are expected to lose intensity by Monday but might pick up again as early as Tuesday night.