Power Shutoff Expected to Hit Humboldt Areas

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is preparing for another round of potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs as soon as Wednesday evening. The utility says it expects an "all clear" to be issued Friday morning in all remaining areas of the PSPS footprint, at which more than 1,000 PG&E employees will deploy on the ground or in helicopters to conduct line patrols and restore customers. The shutoff is expected to affect approximately 54,000 customers in Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Lake, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, and Yuba counties. Get the full story in the full story in the video above. The utility, which gave the all clear Friday afternoon, said it needs to inspect and fix any damaged lines, poles and towers before it can restore service.

Preemptive electricity cuts are a strategy aimed at preventing fires from being started by damaged power lines that have been damaged or knocked down amid high winds.

Originally it was estimated about 53,000 would lose power but PG&E said it was able to reduce the number affected due to better-than-expected weather conditions. PG&E said it is also partnering with community groups to help people with medical, financial and other needs during PSPS events.

PG&E senior meteorologist Scott Strenfel said the forecast calls for two "back-to-back" periods when "Diablo" winds sweep the region.

"Gusts at or above 50 miles per hour are looking possible in elevated terrain in the North Bay and Northern Sierra", PG&E says.

All power should be restored by late Friday night, the utility said.

Most of the huge fires that erupted over the past eight weeks are now fully or significantly contained but the gains could be hampered if new fires ignite, said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

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

Farther north, the Zogg Fire in Shasta and Tehama counties was 99% contained. Four people died in that blaze.

Dale Kasler covers climate change, the environment, economics and the convoluted world of California water.

Record-breaking wildfires in California this year have charred more than 4.1 million acres, killed 31 people and destroyed more than 9,200 homes and businesses, according to the state's fire agency.

The utility pleaded guilty in June to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter; one death was ruled a suicide.



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