Updated Nov 6, 2019

California wildfires: What you need to know

A firefighter controls a hotspot of the Maria Fire in Ventura County, Calif., on Saturday. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

California firefighters are winning the fight against a series of wildfires in the state, with official figures showing most blazes at least 75% contained and several others fully contained or extinguished by Tuesday night. But authorities warn the fire danger isn't over yet.

What's new: A new report warns the fire season could continue through December. Firefighters were dealing with a new fire in a remote area of Lake County, near Clearlake. CalFire said the blaze, named the Eagle Fire, had burned 75 acres and was 56% contained by Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency over the fires, which have posed the most dangerous conditions since the 2017 wine country fires that killed 22 people.

  • Firefighters have spent the past week battling wildfires amid dry and extremely windy conditions — with some gusts reaching hurricane strength.
  • Power cuts designed to prevent further fires are believed to have affected an estimated 3 million people in total, per the New York Times.

By the numbers: There are eight wildfires burning in California. The latest available details on Tuesday evening show...

    • Maria Fire in Santa Paul, covering 9,412 acres, was 95% contained.
    • Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, covering 77,758 acres, was 86% contained.
    • Hillside Fire in San Bernardino County, covering 200 acres, was 95% contained.
    • Taboose Fire, covering 10,296 acres was 75% contained.
    • Maria Fire in Ventura County, covering 9,412 acres, was 95% contained.
    • South Fire in Tehama County, covering 5,332 acres, was 76% contained.
    • Ranch Fire, near the edge of Mendocino National Forest, covering 3,768 acres, was 15% contained.
    • Eagle Fire covering 75 acres, was 56% contained.

What they're saying: The California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection said the Easy fire in Ventura County and the Getty fire in Los Angeles, which had earlier threatened properties and triggered mass evacuations, were among those to be either fully contained or extinguished this week, per the Los Angeles Times.

The big picture: PG&E is being investigated by the California Public Utilities Commission over the deliberate power outages. The utility has faced criticism from state lawmakers including Newsom and Democratic presidential candidates for its handling of the shutdowns.

  • State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who's on a panel reviewing the PG&E blackouts, told the Times the courts should "take control of the company before more damage is done."
  • The Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement the Getty fire "was likely caused by a tree branch that broke off during the high wind conditions and subsequently landed on nearby power lines, which resulted in sparking and arcing that ignited nearby brush." The department released video of the moment it believes the fire started.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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Wind-driven wildfire threatens Santa Barbara County

The Cave Fire burns a hillside above houses in Santa Barbara on Nov. 26. Photo: Kyle Grillot/AFP via Getty Images

A wind-driven wildfire burning north of Santa Barbara, California, forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and threatened thousands more homes, AP reports.

What's happening: Santa Barbara County residents hope an approaching storm could help extinguish the flames of the Cave Fire, per AP, which notes 4,000 of the almost 5,500 evacuees were told Tuesday they could return home after authorities reduced the evacuation zone size. The blaze burned 4,300 acres and was 10% contained Tuesday evening, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason tweeted.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 27, 2019

California fire season could last until December

A firefighter douses flames from a backfire during the Maria Fire in Santa Paula, California, on Nov. 1. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

California could continue to endure wildfires until December as a late start to the rainy season looks increasingly likely — particularly in the south of the state, the Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center warns in a new report.

This may be a long fall and winter across California for both the fire-fighting community and the general public in terms of coping with the threat of fires."
Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

California's growing local push to overhaul PG&E

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Nearly two dozen California mayors and county leaders — including San Jose and Sacramento — are pressing state regulators to help them transform the embattled, bankrupt power giant PG&E into a customer-owned cooperative.

Why it matters: Their new letter to the California Public Utilities Commission shows how PG&E's power shutdowns amid wildfire risk and overall performance are prompting calls for a seismic re-think of its structure.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019