AUBURN (CBS13) – Critical fire weather crept into Northern California on Monday.

Gusty weather, dry conditions, and low humidity prompted a red flag warning as thousands of utility customers were left without power across the region.

Early Monday morning in Elk Grove, the wind blew through trees, creating choppy water near East Lake in Laguna West. Within minutes, a grass fire started on the Yolo Causeway as smoke plumes filled the sky and a dust cloud blew over the city skyline.

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“Wind spreads fire really fast, wind blows uphill, fire climbs, and everybody’s gotta be careful,” said Evelyn in Auburn.

“It’s not helping the fires, it’s probably going to make it worse,” said Gabby Garibay.

In Placer County, only a few hundred customers are in the dark from PG&E’s public safety power shutoffs. But thousands in Solano are without power.

“It is frustrating because you have your heat on, it turns it off and you don’t even know what’s going on,” said Garibay.

But CalFire warns being in the dark can create even more fire danger as people set warming fires to make up for being in the cold without power.

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“They just need to be very careful because those are all ignition sources. Every action has a reaction,” said CalFire Chief Brian Estes.

Calfire is now staging crews and equipment across the region, ready to fight the next battle with the wind and hoping to keep each spot fire down to 10 acres or less.

“The humidities are getting really low during the day, and the winds are getting strong,” Chief Estes said.