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The scene of the Glass Fire in St. Helena, in Napa County, California, on Sunday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in the western U.S. were facing "critical fire weather conditions," as a rapidly spreading new wildfire in Northern California prompted fresh evacuations Sunday.

Why it matters: Wildfires have burned a record 3.6 million acres in California this year, killing 26 people and razing over 7,600 structures, per Cal Fire. Utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to 11,000 customers early Sunday and planned outages for 54,000 others later in the day because of fire risks.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What's happening: The Glass Fire prompted mandatory evacuation orders for Napa County communities in California's wine country after the blaze broke out Sunday morning and quickly spread across 1,500 acres with 0% containment.

  • Red flag warnings were issued "across a large portion of California, the central Rockies and the High Plains," per the National Weather Service (NWS).

The big picture: 69 large fires were burning across the U.S. on Sunday — including 20 in California, 14 in Idaho, 11 in Oregon and 10 in Montana, per the National Interagency Fire Center.

  • After cooler, damper conditions earlier in the week, dry and windy conditions were promoting "elevated to critical fire weather conditions across a broad area of the western U.S. into the Plains," the NWS said.

Threat level: Cal Fire noted red flag warnings were in effect until Monday, affecting most areas from Trinity County down through the Diablo Range and Central Sierra Mountains, with low humidity bringing critical fire weather conditions.

  • "Gusty winds and low humidity will bring critical fire weather, as well as unseasonably high temperatures," Cal Fire said.
  • "A Fire Weather Watch is in effect for later in the weekend into Monday for strong winds and low humidity affecting the Western Klamath in the north and the San Gorgonio Pass and Inland Empire in the south. High pressure brings elevated temperatures across the state through the weekend and into next week."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the more information on the weather and the fire threat.

Go deeper

Over 300,000 Californians affected by PG&E blackouts

High tension towers in Los Angeles. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced Sunday that it would begin power shut-offs for roughly 361,000 California customers due to dry weather that could risk wildfire spread.

Where it stands: Cal Fire identified two new fire incidents late on Sunday that have spread through 70 acres. Two other major fires in the state are 80% and 30% contained.

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

3 hours ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.