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A firefighter battles the Alisal Fire on Oct. 12. Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 1,300 California firefighters are working to contain the wind-driven blaze that triggered new evacuation orders and far-reaching power shut-offs, officials said.

The big picture: The Alisal Fire, which ignited near the Alisal Reservoir on Monday, now spans more than 15,000 acres and is only 5% contained, according to Inciweb, an inter-agency incident information site.

  • Strong northwest winds continue to push the fire's flames, prompting a wind advisory for the area.
  • On Wednesday, utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric alerted 16,000 customers to planned power shut-offs Thursday due to "fire weather," the company said in a press release.
  • PG&E shut off power Monday to approximately 25,000 customers in parts of 23 counties. Nearly all affected customers had their power restored Tuesday, PG&E said.
  • Highway 101 near Santa Barbara has been closed since Monday.

Threat level: "This fire is a reminder that as summer winds down, our fire season ramps up," Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann said.

Go deeper: California wildfire jumps major highway as blaze swells to 13,400 acres

Go deeper

Biden administration outlines "ambitious" plans for coastal wind farms

The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Block Island, R.I. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to identify and lease federal waters along seven coastal areas to offshore wind power developers over the next few years, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The new plan constitutes an aggressive push by the federal government to reach its goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind-generating capacity in U.S. waters by 2030.

31 mins ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

39 mins ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

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