Weather Alert

PG&E shut off power to 48,000 residents, citing wildfire risk

▶ Watch Video: Dixie Fire becomes single largest wildfire in California’s history

The nation’s largest utility provider, Pacific Gas & Electric, shut off power for approximately 48,000 California customers Tuesday night as part of a planned safety measure in response to worsening wildfire weather conditions, the company said. PG&E said Wednesday afternoon that it has begun restoring power in some locations, and that remaining customers will have their power restored on Thursday.

“It’s never an easy decision to turn off the power for safety, but it is the right thing to do to keep everyone safe,” PG&E executive vice president Marlene Santos said in a Tuesday statement. 

The company said parts of 13 counties were affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are issued when there is severe weather that may affect power lines and spread wildfires. 

Red flag warnings, which indicate that weather conditions are expected to produce a high risk of fire danger, have been issued in parts of California and continue to be extended by the National Weather Service. 

Plumas County — which is battling California’s largest wildfire, the Dixie Fire — was one of the counties affected by the power shutoffs. Dixie has burned 635,728 acres over 34 days and is 33% contained, according to wildfire tracking system Inciweb

Mendocino County, which is facing a major water shortage, also experienced PG&E power shutoffs. 

PG&E advised customers in affected areas to create an emergency preparedness plan, which includes having a battery-operated flashlight and placing extra ice inside refrigerators and freezers. The company also said it opened 36 resource centers during the safety shutoff to provide basic power needs and essential items. 

In July, PG&E announced an initiative to relocate overhead power lines in high fire hazard areas underground to avoid power shutoffs and to lower fire risks. The company said the plan will take several years to complete.


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