SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities say about 90,000 people have been ordered to evacuate across a huge swath of Northern California ahead of historic winds predicted near a wildfire that has destroyed dozens of homes.
Cal Fire says severe gusts expected early Sunday could push the fire miles ahead of the main blaze that's chewed through more than 40 square miles (104 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber.
The inland towns of Healdsburg and Windsor were told to leave earlier Saturday. By evening authorities ordered evacuations for wine country communities stretching all the way through the Russian River Valley to Bodega Bay on the coast.
Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick pleaded with residents to heed the orders, citing deaths that occurred when fire swept through the area two years ago.
Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric began cutting power to 850,000 homes and businesses in 36 counties to prevent winds from downing lines and sparking new fires.
Authorities say human remains have been found within the burned area of a large wildfire that scorched at least six houses in Southern California suburbs.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says Saturday that it's too soon to know if the death is connected to the fire in Santa Clarita. The death is under investigation.
The blaze is 25% contained and authorities have lifted nearly all evacuation orders. Some 50,000 people were forced to flee at the fire's height.
In Northern California, officials say a firefighter and two civilians were injured when they were overwhelmed by flames as they tried to evacuate from approaching flames in Sonoma County. Cal Fire says the firefighter deployed a fire shelter, which shielded them. After the flames passed, all three were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Crews are scrambling to tame the wine country fire ahead of fierce winds expected to whip up again Saturday night.