Los Angeles: As fire-fighters continued to contain massive wildfires across California, the state's Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for the badly affected Sonoma and Los Angeles counties.
"Governor Gavin Newsom today (Friday) issued an emergency proclamation for the counties of Sonoma and Los Angeles due to the effects of the Kincade and Tick fires, which have destroyed structures, threatened homes and critical infrastructure, and caused the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents," Xinhua news agency reported citing a statement from his office.
Newsom visited Sonoma County on Friday afternoon to survey areas impacted by the Kincade fire, which grew to 21,900 acres with 5 per cent containment and met emergency responders, residents, health officers and local and state officials.
During his trip, Newsom slammed the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a publicly-traded, investor-owned utility that serves two-thirds of northern California, saying the company must take responsibility for the wildfires that the local residents have been suffering for years.
California utility companies are under increasing scrutiny by regulatory authorities since sparks from ageing or over taxed utility equipment have been blamed for some of the state's most disastrous wildfires in recent history.
To date, six of most devastating blazes in California's history were triggered by electrical equipment malfunction, including the brutal Camp fire in 2018 that wiped out the mountain town of Paradise, killing 86 residents.
While the cause of the Kincade fire, first reported on Wednesday night, had not been determined, the PG&E reported a problem with a transmission tower near the spot where the fire was ignited
About 2,000 residents of Geyserville and the surrounding area threatened by the Kincade fire were evacuated and at least 1,300 firefighters were assigned to battle the blaze.
On Friday, the brush fire, dubbed Tick fire burning in Los Angeles county, has swept 4,300 acres.
At least six structures were destroyed and another 15,000 more threatened by the fire.