A wildfire in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills continued to rage Friday as dry, gusty winds have left much of the state at risk. California’s largest utility, PG&E Corp., fell the most in 10 months.
The blaze near the city of Chico, 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, has left about 24,000 homes and businesses without power, according to PG&E’s website. Residents in several towns were evacuated. The National Weather Service warns flames will spread rapidly as high pressure across the region has parched the air and fueled gusts of up to 65 miles per hour.
The foothills fire had grown to 20,000 acres Thursday, up from 5,000 earlier in the day. Two fires are also burning in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, consuming about 12,000 acres, and causing residents there to flee the flames.
More than 25,000 homes and businesses are without power in the region, according to Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility. More than 75,000 homes are under evacuations orders in the area, according to local media reports.
PG&E shares fell as much as 9.3 percent, to $43.34, the most intraday since Dec. 21. The utility is still struggling to cope with losses from last year’s deadly fires that could cost it as much as $17.3 billion in liabilities, according to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimate. Investors are waiting on the state’s investigation into the Tubbs fire, the deadliest of the 2017 wine country fires.