Sand Fire in Northern California causes evacutions

A wildfire burning at night in the Mendocino National Forest in July 2018

The company on Friday said it was also keeping an eye on the weather in portions of the Sierra foothills, noting that "peak fire risk in these areas" was predicted from 9 p.m. Saturday through the following afternoon.

But conditions improved, allowing the utility to begin restoring power to those customers, Pasion said. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. shut off the power to selected regions to guard against wildfires.

It covers inland valleys below the 1000-foot level, where fire officials say grass and shrub have dried despite an unusually rainy May across the state. The National Weather Service said humidity could drop to 10 percent.

But there has been opposition from customers who rely on electrically powered life-support equipment as well as businesses that have had to shut down for lack of power.

Two fires broke out heading into the weekend.

The fires collectively destroyed 280 structures while damaging 37 others; causing at least $267 million (2018 USD) in damages.

The Ranch Fire, the largest wildfire in California history in terms of acres burned, was caused by a spark or hot metal fragment that came from a hammer driving a metal stake into the ground, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The California Public Utilities Commission last week gave utilities new rules about intentionally cutting power to prevent wildfires.

The utility said starting Saturday morning, it might turn off power to thousands of customers in areas north of San Francisco and in the Sierra foothills to help reduce the risk of fire.

Almost 5 million people are under red flag warnings through Sunday afternoon across the Sacramento Valley, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

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