The Latest: Large new wildfire burns in Southern California

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

6:40 a.m.

A large new wildfire has erupted in Southern California as strong Santa Ana winds blow through the region and officials ordered mandatory evacuations.

Television images showed the fire burning before dawn Wednesday in the Simi Valley area about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Ventura County officials have tweeted that the brush fire is large without providing more details on its size and say it is burning between the cities of Simi Valley and Moorpark.

Mandatory evacuations were issued but officials did not say how many people were subject to the orders.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is in the vicinity.

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6 a.m.

Fire danger warnings blanket a large swath of California because of gusty winds and extremely dry air.

The National Weather Service says Santa Ana winds developed more slowly than expected in Southern California but strong gusts topping 50 mph (80 kph) are being reported early Wednesday.

So far, the winds have stayed away from the section of Los Angeles that burned Monday in the Getty fire, where there’s concern that smoldering embers could be carried away by gusts and start new fires.

In Northern California, winds are beginning to decline, but forecasters warn that fire danger remains.

The weather service says winds topped out near 70 mph (112 kph) at the highest elevations north of San Francisco Bay, where firefighters are battling the destructive Kincade Fire in the Sonoma County wine country.

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10:43 p.m.

Californians are facing winds, wildfires and darkness from yet another power outage for more than 1 million people.

Pacific Gas & Electric is blacking out about 1.5 million people in some 30 counties to prevent high winds from toppling power lines and sparking fires. It’s the third shutoff in a week.

A fire in northern wine country and another in the wealthy Brentwood area of Los Angeles have burned dozens of homes. Both were driven by strong winds.

The Sonoma County area was hit by gusts of 30 mph (48 kph) or more Tuesday but firefighters report little growth in the blaze, with winds were expected to ease Wednesday.

But in the south, forecasters say hot, dry Santa Ana winds through Thursday could bring gusts of 50 to 80 mph (128.7 kph) at times.

Categories: National News