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Southern California endures new flames as PG&E prepares to restore power in the north

Southern California was yet again assaulted by wind-driven wildfires Thursday. Some 500 homes and 1,300 people were evacuated when fast-moving flames burned through a San Bernardino neighborhood. In the northern part of the state, most evacuations have been lifted as fire conditions improve, and Pacific Gas & Electric is moving to restore the power that has been off for days. Stephanie Sy reports.

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  • Nick Schifrin:

    In the day's other news: Southern California faced another assault by wildfires driven by major winds. And firefighters are now battling new flames.

    Here's Stephanie Sy.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Before dawn in San Bernardino, Santa Ana winds sent a blowtorch burning through half-a-dozen homes. Flames raced downhill, driven by gusts of up to 70 miles an hour and with little warning.

  • Chase:

    You could smell smoke. People started screaming down the street and everything else. So we came out and started wetting things down. And things kind of just went downhill from there.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Crews battled to turn back the fire, but the fierce wind made it difficult and dangerous. In short order, officials ordered some 1,300 residents to evacuate 500 homes, as the fire kept spreading.

  • Kathleen Opliger:

    This fire moves so fast and continues to have the potential to move so quickly that, if folks don't evacuate when we ask them to, it will be very difficult to try to get them out.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    In Northern California's wine country, most mandatory evacuations for the Kincade Fire have now been lifted. And Pacific Gas & Electric has moved to restore power to hundreds of thousands of people. Some had been in the dark since the weekend.

    Residents at this low-income senior facility in the San Francisco Bay Area say they were trapped for two days.

  • Brian Cherry:

    It was total darkness in every hallway, every stairwell, and all three of the buildings. Outside assistance wasn't here at all. We were left on our own.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Fire conditions have now improved in the north, as the wind dies down, and officials say the winds in Southern California should ease tonight.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

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