PGE 21-county Power Shutoff Warning includes portion of Sonoma County

Elias Hubbard
October 17, 2020

PG&E said it could cut power to more than 9,200 customers in Napa and around 1,800 in Sonoma.

The National Weather Service issued heat advisories through Friday for temperatures in the 90s and even triple digits in many parts of the state. Hot and dry conditions combined with expected high wind gusts pose an increased risk for damage to the electric system that has the potential to ignite fires in areas with dry vegetation.

California's largest utility is forecasting a so-called Diablo wind event developing by Wednesday that could require PG&E to turn off power in 21 counties including parts of Oakland and in the Northern California wine country resort town of Calistoga, according to a statement posted Monday on the company's website. Mark Quinlan, PG&E's incident commander, said most customers should have electricity restored by late Friday.

"These are challenging times". "We recognize that hardships are introduced when we shut off power".

Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

Hot weather also prompted California's electrical grid operator to issue a statewide "Flex Alert", urging people to conserve energy between 3 p.m.to 10 p.m. Thursday by turning down their air conditioners and not using major appliances.

Thousands of households across Northern California braced for power blackouts on Wednesday as dry weather threatened to touch off a new round of the wildfires that have ravaged the state.

An estimated 187 Humboldt customers in the Bridgeville, Blocksburg and Alderpoint areas are expected to be affected beginning around 4 p.m. tomorrow and lasting through until 10 p.m. Friday. In addition, the utility said the winds weren't as widespread as initially feared.

Strenfel said some Bay Area communities could see gusts as high as 55 miles per hour.

Several of the California counties falling under the PG&E shutoffs have already been hit by massive wildfires.

The Zogg Fire to our north is now 99-percent contained, while the August Complex fires are slowly gaining containment and now stand at 75-percent contained. Four people died in that blaze.

At least 31 people have died in the more than 8,500 fires that have burned in the state in 2020.

The renewed risky weather conditions developed as most of the huge fires that erupted over the past eight weeks have been fully or significantly contained and skies once stained orange by heavy smoke were blue again. "They grow much more quickly".

The company has acknowledged that its equipment started the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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