California Braces For Wildfires With Forced Power Outages

Tens of thousands of Californians have been going without power since Sunday as part of a utility company’s new effort to lower wildfire risk during windy, hot and dry conditions.

Pacific Gas & Electric disconnected power Sunday night for about 60,000 customers across Northern California that were at an extreme fire risk, including Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties north of San Francisco, and Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado and Placer counties in the Sierra foothills.

In total, nearly 100,000 residents were warned that power loss was a possibility due to wind speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and gusts of up to 70 mph, which were heightening the risk of electric fires.

Seventy percent of those who lost power can expect to regain it by midnight Monday, but future shutoffs are a possibility as the fire-prone regions continue to experience the types of weather conditions that fueled catastrophic fires in the past year.

“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is PG&E’s top priority,” said Pat Hogan, PG&E’s senior vice president of electric operations. “We know how much our customers rely on electric service and only considered temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety, and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions.”

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