The Creek Fire jumps State Route 168 in Fresno County, California, on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Pilots wearing night-vision goggles landed helicopters in California's burning Sierra National Forest to save 164 people trapped by flames and were working to rescue 17 others, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said during a news conference Tuesday.

What's happening: Firefighters are battling more than two dozen major blazes, as PG&E cut power to 170,000 customers in a safety shutdown.

Catch up quick:

  • In the Los Padres National Forest on California's central coast, 14 firefighters and bulldozer operators became surrounded by flames at the Nacimiento Station, leaving one critically wounded and others with burns and smoke inhalation damage, AP reports.
  • The National Forest Service temporarily closed forests, trails and campgrounds across the state on Monday evening because of the wildfires, the Los Angeles Times reports. All in Southern California were closed. The agency closed eight more forests on Tuesday.
  • "Most of California remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions, and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit," the National Park Service said in a statement.
  • Huntington Lake volunteer fire chief Chris Donnelly told NBC News that the rapidly growing Creek Fire charred "at least two dozen homes" after sweeping the area Saturday night, when it trapped dozens of campers, who had to be evacuated by helicopter.
  • The Creek Fire has razed more than 143,900 acres and was not contained at all Tuesday night, per Cal Fire.
  • A "smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party" caused the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, Cal Fire said. The fire has razed more than 10,500 acres and was 16% contained Tuesday.

The big picture: Newsom has declared a statewide emergency due to the widespread fires and extreme weather conditions. President Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for the state.

Go deeper: California wildfires raze a record 2 million acres

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the fires and the weather and to include PG&E's announcement.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 17, 2020 - Science

In photos: Historic wildfires rage across the U.S. West

A woman who lost her home at a trailer park surrounded by burned cars and properties destroyed in the Almeda Fire in Talent, Oregon, on Sept. 16. Photo: Paula Bronstein/AFP via Getty Images

79 large wildfires are burning across the U.S. West, mostly in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, per a Bureau of Land Management statement Wednesday.

The big picture: The mega-fires have killed at least 35 people and burned some 5 million acres in Oregon, Washington and California, where air quality is among the worst in the world. Smoke from the blazes has been affecting East Coast skies this week. It's also been spotted some 5,000 miles away in Europe.

Portland has world's worst air quality as West Coast fires raze 5 million acres

An aerial view of structures destroyed by wildfire and others spared by fire retardant in Talent, Oregon. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Portland, Oregon, recorded the poorest air quality in the world Tuesday, per IQ Air, as the West Coast wildfires burn across some 5 million acres.

Why it matters: The mega-fires have charred 3,154,107 acres in California, over 1 million in Oregon and more than 807,000 in Washington amid hazardous air conditions. Seattle has the world's third-worst air quality and Los Angeles the seventh, according to IQ Air. The blazes have killed at least 35 people and displaced tens of thousands. Thousands of structures have been destroyed.

Go deeper: In photos: Historic wildfires rage across the West

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the fires and air quality.

Gov. Jay Inslee describes “cataclysmic” fire conditions in Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia, Washington. Photo: Axios

Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) described the deadly wildfires sweeping the West Coast as "cataclysmic" for Washington state at an Axios virtual event on Thursday and said that climate change has made the problem worse.

What he's saying: "What we're experiencing in Washington is profound changes particularly in our grassland and our sage brush. It's incredibly dry, very hot, and as a result we have explosive conditions in the state of Washington," he said.