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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

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.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
15 mins ago - Science

Biden's military space future

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden should anticipate major and minor conflicts in space from even the earliest days of his presidency.

The big picture: President Donald Trump's military and civil space policies are well-documented, but Biden's record and views on space are less clear.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.

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