Predicted Mid-Week High Winds Means More Likely Power Shutoffs for North Bay

Wildfire threat intensifying across California officials say

Wildfire threat intensifying across California officials say

More than 50,000 California utility customers were without power and others around the state were urged to conserve electricity Thursday amid a fall heat wave that brought another round of extreme wildfire danger.

NWS meteorologist Anna Schneider tells the Chronicle that the winds are expected to be highest Wednesday night into Thursday morning, creating an increased risk for downed power lines and wildfires.

PG&E said last month that it is using smarter and shorter power shutoffs after receiving widespread criticism past year when it turned off electricity to 2 million people to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.

A small grass fire broke out in Moraga on Sunday evening but was quickly contained. "We recognize that hardships are introduced when we shut off power". That's when PG&E crews will begin to inspect their de-energized lines to ensure they were not damaged.

Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Wednesday's blackouts will be the third imposed by PG&E in a little over a month.

An estimated 187 Humboldt customers in the Bridgeville, Blocksburg and Alderpoint areas are expected to be affected beginning around 4 p.m. tomorrow and lasting through until 10 p.m. Friday.

"Fires which typically would be easily handled with what they call the initial attack are a lot more hard to handle" in these conditions, Kurth said.

Strenfel said some Bay Area communities could see gusts as high as 55 miles per hour.

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The renewed unsafe weather conditions developed as most of the huge fires that erupted over the past eight weeks have been fully or significantly contained and skies once stained orange by heavy smoke were blue again.

The outages would include regions already hit by massive wildfires.

"While good progress has been made on a number of fires, this could hamper containment efforts", Daniel Berlant, Cal Fire assistant deputy director, said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Farther north, the Zogg Fire in Shasta and Tehama counties was also contained.

Dale Kasler covers climate change, the environment, economics and the convoluted world of California water. Thirty-one people have died, and over 9,200 structures have been destroyed.

At least 31 people have died in the more than 8,500 fires that have burned in the state in 2020.

PG&Es aging equipment has previously sparked some of the states largest wildfires, including the deadly 2018 fire that destroyed much of the town of Paradise and killed 85.

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