Published: Wed, October 09, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

PG&E may cut power in 30 California counties to curb fires

PG&E may cut power in 30 California counties to curb fires

"We do not have any information from PG&E about what areas or how many customers may be impacted", the post states.

The weather forecast for some of the areas identified as part of this "Public Safety Power Shutoff" predicts humidity in the teens and north to northeast winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour gusting at 40 to 50 miles per hour beginning late Tuesday night and lasting into Thursday.

PG&E has come under increased scrutiny in recent years over maintenance of transmission wires and other equipment implicated in a number of major wildfires.

Regulators have identified downed PG&E power lines as the cause of the Camp Fire in November 2018 in Paradise, the deadliest wildfire in the state's history. Although the electrified rail service gets power from PG&E, its own cables can redistribute electricity during a blackout and the agency has set up back-up generators, Bart spokesman Jim Allison said.

On Monday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo urged residents to prepare to be without power for as long as seven days.

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And this, he said, is by all metrics "forecast to be the strongest offshore wind event since October 2017".

"This is a recipe for explosive fire growth, if a fire starts", the weather service said.

The service issued red flag warnings starting early Wednesday morning across the North Bay Mountains and Valleys, East Bay Hills and East Bay Valleys. These winds combined with low humidity values will yield critical fire weather conditions over interior Mendocino County, southern Trinity County, and southeastern Humboldt County.

The strong winds will begin Wednesday morning and will last through Friday morning, Duffey said during the newsconference.

Dozens of community centers will open during daylight hours while power is out. "We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public's patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire", said Michael Lewis, PG&E's senior vice president of Electric Operations. "This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions". PG&E will not begin restoring power until the severe weather has passed, and is thus asking customers to brace for an "extended outage" that could last several days.

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