Sept. 26 (UPI) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. extended a potential power shutoff to nearly 97,000 customers in California to cut fire risk as strong, dry winds were forecast amid ongoing fires.
The possible power shutdown to prevent downed or “energized power lines” from sparking wildfires amid strong winds and high temperatures could impact 96,876 customers across 15 counties, including some in the San Francisco Bay Area from Sunday through Monday, PG&E said in a statement.
Based on census data, about 300,000 people would be impacted by the potential shutoff.
The affected counties could include Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Tehama, and Yuba.
Meanwhile, a Fire Weather Watch is in effect through Monday over a large portion of Northern California for gusty winds and low humidity, boosting fire weather conditions, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Since the beginning of the year, over 8,000 wildfires have burned over 3.6 million acres in California, Cal Fire said in a statement Friday.
Since Aug. 15, when fire activity in the state increased, over 25 people have died and over 7,000 structures have been destroyed.
The August Complex fire that spread across six counties has grown to 867,335 acres over 40 days and is 43% contained, damaging five structures and destroying 51, according to the latest update.
Meanwhile, the Creek Fire that spread across Fresno and Madera counties has grown to become the largest single fire in the state’s history. Over 21 days, the Creek Fire has grown to 292,172 acres and is 39% contained, damaging 71 structures and destroying 855 structures.
The North Complex Fire that spread in Plumas and Butte counties has resulted in 15 deaths and two injuries, along with damaging 112 structures and destroying 2,248 structures. It has burned through 304,881 acres and is 78% contained.