Preparedness

California Wildfire Threats Could Lead Pacific Gas & Electric to Cut Power to Parts of Nine Counties

The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued the red flag warning to take effect from Wednesday night to Friday morning in the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills. Those areas are expecting wind gusts up to 45 mph, and any fires that spark could spread rapidly.

by Ashley McBride, San Francisco Chronicle / November 7, 2018
AP

(TNS) - Gusty northern winds, dry vegetation and low humidity across the Bay Area have created prime circumstances for wildfires, prompting a red flag warning Wednesday and possible power shutoffs for Northern California residents.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued the red flag warning to take effect from Wednesday night to Friday morning in the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills. Those areas are expecting wind gusts up to 45 mph, and any fires that spark could spread rapidly. The biggest threats exist in the hills of eastern Napa County and areas around Atlas Peak, Mount Diablo and Mount Hamilton, officials said.

As a result of the warning, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced Tuesday that customers in parts of nine counties — Butte, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sonoma and Yuba — may have their power preemptively cut Thursday as a safety precaution.

PG&E officials are working with first responders and local authorities to monitor weather conditions before deciding to turn off power.

Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said crews are preparing for possible wildfires by increasing staff in affected areas and making sure engines and aircraft are ready to go.

“Those in affected areas with these predicted severe winds tonight and tomorrow morning need to be ready to evacuate,” McLean said. “Have your go kits ready to go and make sure to have a full tank of gas.”

Ashley McBride is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: ashley.mcbride@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ashleynmcb

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