Live updates: Evacuations expanded once again due to 13-4 wildfire
Check here for updates on fires burning Tuesday in Sonoma and Napa counties:
8:40 PM: New Sonoma County evacuation orders on wildfire’s northern and western fronts
Authorities have expanded the mandatory evacuation orders in place due to the 13-4 wildfire burning in a rugged swath of coastal mountains in northwestern Sonoma County. The new areas are on the fire’s northern and western fronts.
They include areas east of Sewell Road and King Ridge Road; north of Old Cazadero Road and Austin Creek; west of East Austin Creek and Wal Bridge Ridge; and south of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road.
Residents in outlying areas have been warned to prepare to evacuate. Those warnings cover residents of areas west of the South Fork Gualala River; north of Fort Ross Road; and south and east of King Ridge Road.
7:15 PM: New Sonoma, Napa County evacuation orders as fires rage into Tuesday evening
Guerneville, Jenner, Monte Rio and other areas north of the Russian River now are included in evacuation orders due to the 13-4 fire that’s burning in northwest Sonoma County.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has placed the wide area between the Sonoma Coast, the Russian River and Sweetwater Springs and Fort Ross roads under mandatory evacuation orders, affecting thousands of residents.
Also, more Napa County residents have been ordered to join thousands of their neighbors and evacuate due to multiple lightning-caused fires burning across that county.
Evacuation orders now include the area of Wragg Canyon Road — from Highway 128 to the end of the road including the Pleasure Cove facilities — as well as Chiles Pope Valley Road from Lower Chiles Valley Road to Pope Canyon Road, according to Cal Fire.
6:30 PM: Fire in northwest Sonoma County spurs more evacuation orders
The 13-4 fire north of Austin Creek State Recreation Area is prompting additional orders to evacuate from the sparsely populated hills west of Healdsburg on top of the mandates issued earlier this afternoon.
Residents living south of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road, west of West Dry Creek and Westside roads, north of Sweetwater Springs and McCray Ridge roads and east of Austin Creek itself now are under orders to evacuate, according to Cal Fire.
Smoke from the fire has blanketed much of central Sonoma County, with gray ash falling miles from the fire front on the eastern side of Highway 101.
6 PM: Parts of Mendocino County near Covelo ordered to evacuate due to fire threat
Residents living east of Covelo are being told to evacuate due to an uncontained wildfire that’s burned about 40 acres and already has destroyed one structure, Cal Fire said.
Residents living near Short Creek and Hill road and the Capistran Ranch are being ordered to leave due to the Creek fire, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
Another fire is burning in Mendocino County, a 25-acre blaze in the Potter Valley area, according to Cal Fire.
5:30 PM: Outages remain imminent as grid operator urges conservation
California’s main electric grid operator urged Californians to continue conserving energy after staving off rolling blackouts Monday and so far Tuesday afternoon during the ongoing heatwave.
The California Independent Systems Operator, a nonprofit that oversees the broader electric grid and monitors energy demand and supply statewide, said mid-afternoon it was “seeing consumer conservation make a dent” but that “power outages are still likely for energy shortfalls.”
A PG&E spokeswoman reiterated the importance of reducing electricity usage and noted that it’s the Independent Systems Operator, not PG&E, that orders the rolling blackouts. The utility remained on standby if it was ordered to impose “potential rotating outages,” said spokeswoman Deanna Contreras.
“With the record heatwave expected to continue through Thursday night, PG&E strongly encourages all customers to continue conserving to reduce the overall demand for power,” Contreras said in a statement, adding that the rolling blackouts are different from the planned power outages PG&E occasionally imposes to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires.
An outage in Santa Rosa affecting about 349 customers is under investigation and is not the result of a rolling blackout, Contreras said. A separate, planned outage is affecting about 134 Guerneville customers, she said.
If PG&E is told to turn off power, outages are expected to last 1 to 2 hours, according to the utility’s website, which includes a schedule of estimated shutoff times by outage block. Customers can locate their outage block on their most recent bill and can also look up outage blocks by address online.