Sunday, 17 November, 2019

Wildfire in California: millions without power as blazes threaten state

A customer shops for groceries at La Tapatia Market during a blackout in Napa California on Oct 9 2019 PG&E Starts Second Round of Power Shutoffs as Blackout Spreads
Patty Aguilar | 11 October, 2019, 13:12

On Wednesday, the state's main supplier of electricity, Pacific Gas & Electric, intentionally cut power to 500,000 customers in an attempt to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires due to the dry weather and windy conditions.

PG&E power shutoffs in Northern California, October 10, 2019.

The wind is expected to subside Friday, and PG&E crews will then examine their system for damage and begin to restore power for customers.

"It's too bad that it is such a large area to be turned off", said Matthew Gallagher, a resident of Vacaville, a town 60 miles (100 km) northeast of San Francisco, where everything, from the Walmart outlet to gasoline service stations, was closed for lack of power.

The Sandlewood Fire, which broke out shortly before 2 p.m. Pacific Gas & Electric is unable to say at this point how long the outages will last, but the company is telling people to make plans for living without electricity for up to five days.

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A wildfire that erupted in Southern California on Thursday destroyed structures at a Riverside County mobile home park, where "numerous medical emergencies" were reported, fire officials said.

Some of the deadliest fires in Northern California have been blamed on downed power lines.

"This is not a decision that we take lightly", he said. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection found that PG&E was responsible for that wildfire, and others.

The utility said it opened 28 community centers across the planned outage zone to provide restrooms, bottled water, battery charging and air-conditioned seating during the day.

Cal Fire likewise concluded that PG&E power lines had sparked a 2017 flurry of wildfires that swept California's wine country north of San Francisco Bay.

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