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More than 180,000 residents told to evacuate as California wildfire spreads

More than 180,000 California residents have been told to evacuate their homes as wildfires continue to spread through the US state.

Authorities are concerned winds will blow embers and spread the fires across a major road, which prompted services to evacuate parts of Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 which was devastated by fires two years ago.

The latest evacuation order comes after pacific Gas and Electric shut down power to 2.3 million people across 38 counties.

More than 180,000 California residents have been told to evacuate their homes as wildfires continue to spread through the US state. Credit: AP

“This is the largest evacuation that any of us … can remember,” the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office tweeted. “Take care of each other.”

Around 90,000 residents were already told to leave their homes on Saturday night.

A hillside smoulders as firefighters light backfires to slow the spread of the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, California Credit: Noah Berger/AP

Sonoma County sheriff Mark Essick pleaded with residents in the evacuation zone to leave immediately.

“I’m seeing people reporting that they’re going to stay and fight this fire,” Mr Essick said.

An air tanker drops retardant while battling the Kincade Fire in California Credit: Noah BergerAP

“You cannot fight this. Please evacuate.”

The fire, dubbed the Kincade fire, began on Wednesday night and is only 10 per cent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry.

The fire grew by almost 4,000 acres overnight to 30,000 acres (47 square miles) and has destroyed 79 structures.

Flames from the Kincade Fire consume Soda Rock Winery in Healdsburg, California Credit: Noah Berger/AP

On Sunday morning, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts topped 90mph in Healdsburg Hills North, a popular tourist attraction in northern California’s wine country.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but PG&E said a 230,000-volt transmission line near Geyserville malfunctioned shortly before the fire started on Wednesday.