Merrill Fire Update: Evacuations Map After Wildfire Spreads Across California's Bay Area

Residents across California's Contra Costa County were warned to evacuate their homes after a fire developed in the town of Moraga during the early morning hours Thursday. The small vegetation fire is reportedly scorching 60 acres of land near St. Mary's College campus, according to the CBS News affiliate in Moraga.

The Moraga Police Department advised residents living on Sanders Ranch Road, Merrill Drive and Harrington Road to evacuate the area, and it has opened an emergency center at St. Monica's Church.

The fire initially developed at Merrill Drive and Mulholland Circle. Although officials said the fire was about 60 percent contained, they said they were concerned the fire could spread due to increasing wind speeds.

#MerrillFire This is roughly the area where the fire is burning. This satellite image was taken likely in Spring...when it's green. I can tell you that it is not like that now. Bone dry, windy, and classic urban/wildland interface that is VERY dangerous. 31mph gusts pic.twitter.com/jdWssSLJbd

— Rob Carlmark (@rcarlmark) October 10, 2019

The Merrill fire is the latest to break in San Fransisco's Bay Area. Meanwhile, residents in the Sacramento Valley and the northern Sierra foothills were on high alert after flames erupted near the entrance of Yosemite National Park in Northern California.

A Bricebug wildfire that sparked Sunday has since ripped through 4,400 acres of land near the national park and was only 10 percent contained by Wednesday, according to Cal Fire. The park remained open despite the flames, although parts of Highway 140 was shut down in response. Evacuations were also issued for people living close to the highway between Octagon and Colorado roads, Buffalo Gulch Road and the Briceburg campgrounds.

A vegetation fire sparked in Fremont, but was "burning at slow rate of speed," affecting roughly five acres, Cal Fire Amador-El Dorado Unit announced in a Twitter post Wednesday. Meanwhile, firefighters were able to completely contain a vegetation fire that also started in the Tehama County town of Corning Wednesday. The fire burned 68 acres before it was finally put out.

The fires come amid the first round of blackouts across Northern California ordered by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) on Wednesday. About 513,000 customers across 34 counties, including Contra Costa County, are expected to be impacted by the power cutoffs.

We're on air early this morning with #BreakingNews at 4AM. An early morning fire forced evacuations in #Moraga. @JackieKPIX is on scene and will have the latest.
Watch: https://t.co/trukwdkL7Z pic.twitter.com/lR4n7Yjniq

— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) October 10, 2019

PGE issued the outages in an effort to prevent wildfires caused by strong winds damaging power lines after utility malfunctions were linked to massive fires including the Camp fire, which killed 86 people in 2018.

"It is very possible that customers may be affected by a power shut-off even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location," the utility company said in a statement. "This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions."

The power shutdown marks the third PG&E-ordered outage within the last two months. In both cases, electricity was restored within a day. While PG&E didn't specify how long customers would be without power, it is possible people in some areas won't be in the dark for long.

Merrill Fire Update and Evacuations Map
lames spread up a hillside near firefighters at the Blue Cut Fire on August 18, 2016, near Wrightwood, California. Wildfire erupted in California's Contra Costa County leading to city-ordered evacuations. David McNew/Getty Images