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PG&E switches off power to 1M in California to prevent downed power lines from causing wildfires


PG&E switches off power to ONE MILLION in California to prevent downed power lines from causing wildfires as Bay Area is battered by gusts of up to 90mph

  • Pacific Gas & Electric has turned off power to 355,000 customers – which cover one million people  
  • They feared downed power lines could spark new fires in the area as the Silverado Fire continues to grow
  • Meanwhile, 60,000 people in Southern California are facing evacuation orders 

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Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has turned off power for 355,000 customers – which covers one million people – in the northern part of California. 

California is currently seeing some of its highest wind gusts of the year, increasing the dangerous risk of downed power lines which can spark fires.

According to the Associated Press, a Mount St. Helena weather station north of San Francisco in the Bay Area recorded an 89mph gust on Sunday, with sustained winds of 76mph. 

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This has been one of the worst fire seasons on record, both for California and for the United States at large. Firefighters head into the strong winds and up the hillside to battle the Silverado Fire near Irvine, California

This has been one of the worst fire seasons on record, both for California and for the United States at large. Firefighters head into the strong winds and up the hillside to battle the Silverado Fire near Irvine, California

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has turned off power for 355,000 customers - which covers one million people - in the northern part of California. In this view from Newport Boulevard in North Tustin, the morning sun rises through the smoke of fire in the canyons east of North Tustin on Monday

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has turned off power for 355,000 customers – which covers one million people – in the northern part of California. In this view from Newport Boulevard in North Tustin, the morning sun rises through the smoke of fire in the canyons east of North Tustin on Monday

Their equipment has previously been found responsible for some of California's worst fires. A PG&E lineman works on repairing electrical wires that were touching due to high winds on Manzanita Court in Concord, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 25,

Their equipment has previously been found responsible for some of California’s worst fires. A PG&E lineman works on repairing electrical wires that were touching due to high winds on Manzanita Court in Concord, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 25,

The peaks of Sierra Nevada even saw some gusts hit over 100mph, including one that reached 161mph.

While the Silverado Fire is getting a lot of attention in Southern California – prompting evacuation orders for 60,000 people on Monday – the wildfire threat in Northern California remains.

On Sunday, two small fires broke out in Sonoma County and Shasta County in that region of the state; the causes of those fires is currently unknown.

An Orange County firefighter looks for hotspots near a residential area in the Silverado Fire October 26, 2020 in Irvine, California. - The wind-driven fire broke out this morning and quickly scorched 2,000 acres in Orange County California.

An Orange County firefighter looks for hotspots near a residential area in the Silverado Fire October 26, 2020 in Irvine, California. – The wind-driven fire broke out this morning and quickly scorched 2,000 acres in Orange County California.

The Silverado Fire is one of many wildfires completely altering the landscape of the state

The Silverado Fire is one of many wildfires completely altering the landscape of the state

While the Silverado Fire is getting a lot of attention in Southern California - prompting evacuation orders for 60,000 people on Monday - the wildfire threat in Northern California remains. Firefighters gather as the Silverado Fire approaches, near Irvine, California, U.S. October 26

While the Silverado Fire is getting a lot of attention in Southern California – prompting evacuation orders for 60,000 people on Monday – the wildfire threat in Northern California remains. Firefighters gather as the Silverado Fire approaches, near Irvine, California, U.S. October 26

This is now the fifth time this year PG&E has chosen to turn off the power in certain counties to quell the risk of electrical lines sparking wildfires.

Climate scientist Daniel Swain said the ‘shut-offs probably did prevent dangerous fires [Sunday] night.’

‘This event is by far the largest we’ve experienced this year, the most extreme weather,’ stated Aaron Johnson, who serves as PG&E’s vice president of wildfire safety and public engagement.

‘We’re trying to find ways to make the events less difficult.’

PG&E has a checkered history when it comes to being responsible for wildfires in California.

Transmission lines from the nation’s largest utility company sparked the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County last year. That fire destroyed hundreds of homes and forced the evacuation of 100,000 people.

PG&E was also found responsible for a number of devastating wildfires in October 2017 and the Camp Fire in 2018, which killed 85 people and forced the company into bankruptcy proceedings.



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