High winds prompt PG&E to shut power to 25,000 in California

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Pacific Gas & Electric on Monday began shutting down electricity to about 25,000 customers in central and northern California, and southern California Edison warned it could do the same for 9,000 of its customers as strong winds caused trees to fall. , power lines collapsed and at least one of the many caught fire. Due to which people were forced to run away from their homes.

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At least half a dozen small fires broke out across the state till late afternoon, challenging firefighters in their efforts to douse the blaze amid strong wind.

US Forest Service spokesman Andrew Madsen said West of Santa Barbara officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of campsites and ranches near Refugio State Beach as winds threaten to push the fires, which are located in the Los Padres National Forest. was started in


Water drop aircraft were working to douse the fire as it was burning over the rough terrain.

In the San Joaquin Valley, a grass fire north of Madeira prompted an evacuation to the east of State Route 99. Meanwhile, firefighters in Fresno rescued three people trapped in their home after a tree fell on them.

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Forecasters issued a red flag warning for extreme fire danger as winds gusts to 55 mph (89 kph) in the mountains and 25 to 45 mph (39 to 72 kph) in the valleys Of. The warning continues till late Tuesday night. National Weather Service meteorologist Hannah Chandler-Coolie in Sacramento said the strongest winds are expected on Monday.

PG&E said in a statement that the planned outages are necessary because low humidity and strong winds coupled with drought-ravaged vegetation can increase the risk of falling trees on power lines and spark fast-spreading wildfires. Heat waves and historic droughts linked to climate change have made it harder for California and the rest of the US West to fight wildfires.

On the Central Coast, a tree fell on power lines in Hearst San Simeon State Park, sparking a small fire in brush, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection tweeted.

Winds were expected in Southern California through Monday afternoon through evening, with estimated gusts of 50 to 70 mph (80 to 113 kph). SoCal Edison said it may turn off power to customers in Kern, Ventura and parts of northern Los Angeles County to reduce the risk of wildfires.

The National Weather Service said dust was blowing from the Sacramento Valley across the San Joaquin Valley and into the high desert Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles. Caltrans said sections of State Route 138 near the Antelope Valley city of Lancaster and State Route 14 were closed after a dust storm and several trucks overturned blocking the roadway.

Calfire said strong winds downed a tree, destroyed three parked cars and damaged a house in the coastal city of El Granada in San Mateo County.

No one was injured, but photos from the scene showed that the tree also pulled down power lines.

PG&E said it expected to restore power from Tuesday afternoon.

The utility began intentionally shutting down power in the fall of 2019 to prevent wildfires, after an investigation into the Camp Fire determined that much of the city of Paradise had been wiped out, sparked by its appliances. The company filed for bankruptcy and pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the 2018 fires.

PG&E faces multiple criminal charges for a fire caused by its horrific equipment, including charges of involuntary manslaughter filed last month in connection with a wildfire near the city of Redding last year that killed four people.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Southern California

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