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Fires spread amid power outages in Northern California

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Posted at 4:12 AM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 07:12:23-04

Millions of people in Northern California are on track to have lights come back on, but some may not be restored before another round of strong winds threaten to damage power lines and spark fires.

Electricity is expected to begin being restored by Monday, though Pacific Gas & Electric Co. warned it might cut power again as soon as Tuesday with a forecast of strong winds expected to last until Wednesday.

The utility notified more than 1.2 million people that they may have their electricity shut off for what could be the third time in a week.

Nearly 200,000 people are under evacuation orders as crews grapple with a wildfire in wine country that fire officials say was 85 square miles, destroyed 94 buildings and was threatening 80,000 buildings Sunday night.

Residents, animals, jail inmates and more than 100 hospital patients are among the people ordered from their Northern California homes.

They have fled amid fierce winds that prompted the state's largest utility to cut off power to more than 2.5 million people to try to stave off further wildfires sparked by its power lines.

Tens of thousands of people were ordered to flee in the middle of the night, sending a surge of people to the roads, clogging highways and filling shelters.

Many were victims of the deadly wildfires in October 2017 that killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Officials say they are lucky that this time they had more warning about the devastating winds.