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Bushfires rage in California- 940.000 without power

Power shut off to 940,000 Californians as major bushfires rage,  SBS, 27 Oct 19,Nearly a million people in California will be blacked out as powerful winds threaten to knock down electric wires and spark further fires.

A California power company says it will shut off power to around 940,000 customers across the north of the US state as powerful winds threatened to knock down electric wires and spark further fires.

“Predictive data models indicate the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades,” Pacific Gas & Electric said in a Friday news release, adding that winds were predicted to gust over 113km/h.

“Winds of this magnitude pose a higher risk of damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread.”

The utility said it would shut off power in phases across 36 counties, starting at 2 pm on Saturday (0900 AEDT). The blackouts could last until midday on Monday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said the outages were “unacceptable.”

“We are going to do our best to get through these high-wind events and work through Saturday, Sunday into Monday and get these lights back on and do everything in our power to make sure PG&E is never in a position where they’re doing this to us again,” Newsom said in a video posted on Twitter.

The largest wildfire is currently raging in northern California’s Sonoma County, where 50,000 residents were ordered to evacuate on Saturday.

Fire officials said the evacuation orders may be the largest in the region’s history, the Los Angeles Times reported.

‘Story about greed’

A number of bushfires are also raging in the northern part of the state. The most serious – the Kincade Fire – broke out late Wednesday in the Sonoma wine region, also prompting evacuations.

The high risk of fires has led to pre-emptive power cuts to thousands of customers and prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in Sonoma and Los Angeles counties………

The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., warned that millions of people in northern and central parts of the state could have their power cut off during the weekend given the high risk of fire.

The company has come under intense scrutiny after it reported Thursday that even though power to nearly 28,000 customers in Sonoma County had been shut down on Wednesday, some of the high-voltage transmission lines were still operating when the fire broke out.

The same type of equipment was responsible for the state’s deadliest bushfire ever – the Camp Fire in 2018 which killed 86 people.

PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, has been blamed for several other fires in the state in recent years…….

October 28, 2019 - Posted by | climate change, USA

1 Comment »

  1. Could the pyrophoric insustrial chemicals in ecosystems like radionuclides be contributing to wildfires with climate change and urban sprawl?

    Comment by doug | October 28, 2019 | Reply

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