U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has suspended its operations in the areas near the Northern California fire areas.

ICE said Friday that because of the devastation the fires are bringing to California, the agency will "suspend routine immigration enforcement operations in the areas affected" at places such as shelters, food banks, and evacuation sites.

According to ICE spokesman James Schwab, immigration enforcement will take place only "in the event of a serious criminal presenting a public safety threat."

In 2016, the Pew Research Center estimated 2.4 million illegal immigrants live in California, making up 6.3 percent of the state's total population.

California fire officials have reported 31 fire-related deaths as of Thursday.

At least 3,500 structures have been destroyed in more than 15 Northern California fires across more than 160,000 acres.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

Another fire in Anaheim Hills burned 92,000 acres and was 60 percent contained as of Thursday morning, but so far injured only one person.

In August, ICE issued a similar statement when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida last month.