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California gets ready for power outages as the strong winds, dry conditions expected this week

Just as firefighters got a grip on a blaze that tore through...

Posted: Oct 23, 2019 3:25 AM
Updated: Oct 23, 2019 3:32 AM

Just as firefighters got a grip on a blaze that tore through the swanky Pacific Palisades, other Californians are at risk of unpredictable wildfires this week.

About 184,000 customers could have their power shut off this week to lessen the risk, Pacific Gas & Electric officials said Tuesday evening.

"We understand the hardship created by these cutoffs, and there are safety risks on both sides, but again we've seen the impact of wildfires, both over the years and recently in Southern California, and we're determined not to let that happen," PG&E CEO Bill Johnson told reporters.

The potential power shutoff could affect 16 counties in the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay, including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Sutter, and Yuba counties, PG&E's Mark Quinlan, senior director of the company's emergency preparedness and response unit, said.

The company began Monday notifying customers by texts, emails and automated phone calls they could have their power shut off, and did so again Tuesday.

"We will continue to monitor the forecasted wind event and update our customers and communities accordingly," Quinlan said.

A combination of gusty winds, dry grass and dead and dying trees are fueling the fire risk, and therefore the need for possible power shutoffs, PG&E said.

Based on the forecast and wind speeds, PG&E officials said they expect this wind event to be weaker than the last event. Nearly 800,000 customers were without power earlier this month when the utility company called for a Public Safety Power Shutoff to prevent wildfires due to dry and windy weather conditions.

Johnson said he is considering Gov. Gavin Newsom's request to reimburse customers for the previous power shutoffs.

"I'm thinking about it. I'm considering his request," Johnson said. "We're not rejecting it, but we have more immediate things to say."

Newsom last week urged PG&E to give credits or rebates of $100 to each residential customer and $250 to small businesses to compensate them for the power shutoffs.

PG&E's announcement comes as firefighters grapple with a busy wildfire season.

The Little Mountain wildfire that was burning in San Bernardino County has damaged at least six homes and injured at least one firefighter, the county fire district said.

Another two homes were declared uninhabitable.

There were six other fires in the state, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 9294

Reported Deaths: 209
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah230169
Marion156447
Washington144620
Clackamas77324
Umatilla6204
Union3471
Lincoln3272
Deschutes1920
Lane1803
Linn1549
Polk14912
Malheur1401
Jackson1310
Yamhill1318
Jefferson1260
Klamath1231
Hood River880
Benton835
Wasco751
Morrow721
Clatsop490
Douglas440
Coos410
Josephine411
Columbia310
Lake190
Tillamook120
Crook110
Wallowa100
Curry70
Baker40
Grant10
Harney10
Sherman10
Gilliam00
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 246550

Reported Deaths: 6265
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1077923457
Riverside18720465
San Diego15207377
Orange15065354
San Bernardino13152265
Imperial6824100
Alameda6384138
Fresno562677
Kern493977
Santa Clara4750159
Tulare4521133
San Joaquin429855
San Francisco371950
Sacramento355969
San Mateo3376108
Contra Costa332678
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Kings258332
Marin244619
Stanislaus239144
Monterey174815
Solano147625
Sonoma12299
Merced120811
Placer75411
San Luis Obispo6752
Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4103
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1384
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Calaveras530
Del Norte511
Tuolumne430
Mono411
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Amador260
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
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