US News: 90,000 forced to evacuate and millions without power as California wildfire roars - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News 90,000 forced to evacuate and millions without power as California wildfire roars

09:05  27 october  2019
09:05  27 october  2019 Source:   bostonglobe.com

California wildfires: Over two million face looming blackouts

  California wildfires: Over two million face looming blackouts More than two million residents in Northern and Central California face having their power supplies cut off in the largest planned power outage in the region, aimed at preventing the spread of wildfires. The state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, said it has notified customers in 36 counties that it may cut power on Saturday night until midday on Monday, as forecasters predicted the strongest winds in years across the region.

Some 50, 000 Californians were ordered to evacuate due to the threat of a dangerous wildfire Saturday, while power outages that will impact an estimated 3 (MORE: Critical Wildfire Danger Expected This Weekend in California as High Winds Ramp Up Again in a Potentially Historic Event).

Thousands were ordered to evacuate near a massive California wildfire , with PG&E announcing shut-offs for an estimated 2.35 million people. In Marin County, just north of San Francisco, the sheriff’s office warned that a power shut-off would likely knock out some traffic lights.

a man standing next to a fire: Firefighters burned brush Friday ahead of the Kincade Fire in northern California. © Max Whittaker/New York Times Firefighters burned brush Friday ahead of the Kincade Fire in northern California.

SAN FRANCISCO — About 90,000 residents were ordered to evacuate towns near a massive Northern California wildfire Saturday, and the state’s largest utility began power shut-offs for an estimated 2.35 million people due to forecasts of severe winds and extreme fire danger.

Two previous blackouts in recent weeks were carried out amid concern that gusty winds could disrupt or knock down power lines and spark devastating wildfires.

The new evacuation order encompasses a huge swath of wine country stretching from the inland community of Healdsburg west through the Russian River Valley and to Bodega Bay on the coast, Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said. An even broader area is under a warning for residents to get ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

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California authorities order 50, 000 evacuations , millions face power outages over severe winds and extreme fire danger. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities ordered at least 50, 000 residents to evacuate towns near a massive Northern California wildfire Saturday, and the state's largest utility

A fast moving California wildfire has forced 82, 000 residents to evacuate . The massive fire , which is being called Blue Cut, prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to

Some gusts this weekend might reach 75 miles per hour or higher as part of a ‘‘historic’’ wind event, the National Weather Service said. The winds could lead to ‘‘erratic fire behavior’’ and send embers miles ahead of the main blaze, warned the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Pacific Gas & Electric said a new wave of blackouts started Saturday evening, affecting about 940,000 homes and businesses in 36 counties for 48 hours or longer. The city of San Francisco was not in line for a blackout; shut-offs were ordered for most of the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, the wine country to the north and the Sierra foothills.

At an evening briefing, the sheriff pleaded with residents in the evacuation zone to get out immediately, citing the 24 lives lost when a wildfire swept through the region two years ago.

Nearly 200,000 people have fled their homes in California's Sonoma County as the Kincade Fire continues to grow

  Nearly 200,000 people have fled their homes in California's Sonoma County as the Kincade Fire continues to grow The Kincade Fire in California's Sonoma County has burned 73,324 acres. PG&E told regulators that a broken jumper cable may have started the blaze.The Kincade Fire, which ignited in California's Sonoma County on October 23, has torn through an estimated 73,324 acres - an area roughly the size of Orlando, Florida.

The Kincade Fire and Tick Fire are currently the biggest wildfires in California . Here are live updates and maps of the biggest fires . Tens of thousands of Californians been forced to evacuate their homes, and utility companies across the state have cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers

WILDFIRES in California have raged through 10, 000 acres in four hours, sparking mass Almost 900 people people were ordered to evacuate from the town of Geyserville, located in the A California Fire spokeswoman said the worst of the winds are expected to arrive Thursday afternoon local time.

‘‘I'm seeing people reporting that they’re going to stay and fight this fire,’’ Essick said at an evening briefing. ‘‘You cannot fight this. Please evacuate.’’

The wind event will peak early Sunday and is likely to be the strongest in several years, said PG&E; meteorologist Scott Strenfel.

‘‘It’s likely that many trees will fall, branches will break,’’ raising the risk of damage to utility infrastructure, Strenfesl said at a Saturday evening briefing. Relative humidity will dip into single digits, he said.

PG&E;’s shut-off order came as firefighters battled fires in Northern and Southern California.

A wildfire Thursday destroyed 18 structures in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles and led to evacuation orders for up to 50,000 residents, although nearly all were allowed back home after Santa Ana winds began to ease.

Marcos Briano returned to find his property intact, while homes down the street were destroyed.

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Anchors Allison Woods and Tamara Damante were covering the fire for KRCR-TV as it tore towards their home city of Redding where it killed a bulldozer

Entire communities were evacuated , forcing people to grab what they could and flee as raging wildfires The wildfires in Ventura and Los Angeles counties have so far forced tens of thousands to Officials there said they had evacuated more than 50, 000 people from 15, 000 homes, before

‘‘I'm thankful that nothing happened to my house, but I feel bad for my neighbors,’’ Briano, 71, said Saturday.

Sheriff’s officials said human remains were found within the wide burn area, but it’s too soon to know if the death is connected to the blaze. The Tick fire was 55% contained.

To the north, firefighters raced to make progress against a blaze near Geyserville in Sonoma County before ferocious ‘‘diablo winds’’ returned. The Kincade fire had burned 77 buildings, including 31 homes, and swept through more than 40 square miles of the wine-growing region. It was just 10% contained by Saturday evening.

A firefighter and two civilians were injured when they were overwhelmed by flames as they tried to evacuate from approaching flames, authorities said.

‘‘The firefighter was forced to deploy his fire shelter, where he shielded them from fire,’’ Cal Fire said in a statement. After the flames passed, all three were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, the statement said.

Several thousand people living in small communities in neighboring Lake County were warned to be ready to evacuate if an order is given. The area was the scene of a 2015 wildfire that killed four people and burned nearly 2,000 homes and other buildings.

Officials: Getty Fire sparked by falling tree branch on power lines

  Officials: Getty Fire sparked by falling tree branch on power lines The Getty Fire in Los Angeles was sparked by a tree branch that fell on top of power lines and ignited nearby brush, officials said Tuesday. "The fire was likely caused by a tree branch that broke off during the high wind conditions and subsequently landed on nearby power lines, which resulted in sparking and arcing that ignited nearby brush," the Los Angeles Fire Department said."This was, simply put in plain parlance, an act of God," Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference. © FoxNews.com William La Jeunesse reports alongside firefighters battling the flames in California.

Meanwhile, fire officials in southern California have nearly extinguished the second-largest ongoing wildfire in the state. The Saddle Ridge Fire Southern California Edison meanwhile said nearly 20, 000 residents in Kern, Los Angeles and Riverside counties were without power as they also

The fires have spread across 46 square miles in just 21 hours, closing a major interstate and rail traffic leaving Los Angeles, feeding off bone dry brush

No cause has been determined for any of the current fires, but PG&E; said a 230,000-volt transmission line near Geyserville had malfunctioned minutes before that fire erupted Wednesday night.

The utility acknowledged that the discovery of the tower malfunction had prompted a change in its strategy.

‘‘We have revisited and adjusted some of our standards and protocols in determining when we will de-energize high-voltage transmission lines,’’ Andrew Vesey, CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said at a briefing Friday.

The weekend forecasts detail what could be the strongest winds of the year coupled with bone-dry humidity. Many homes and business facing power shut-offs were far from current fires. PG&E; cast the blackouts as a matter of public safety, aimed at preventing the kind of blazes that have killed scores of people over the past couple of years, destroyed thousands of homes, and ran up tens of billions of dollars in claims that drove the company into bankruptcy.

‘‘Any spark, from any source, can lead to catastrophic results,’’ Vesey said. ‘‘We do not want to become one of those sources.’’

The possible link between the wine country fire and a PG&E; transmission line contained grim parallels to a catastrophic fire last year that tore through the town of Paradise, killing 85 people and destroying thousands of homes in the deadliest U.S. fire in a century.

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Millions of Californians are told to prepare for further power outages as wildfires wreak havoc across the The entire town of Geyserville was forced to evacuate as winds topped 70 miles per hour. Even as Californians in the north dealt with more forced power outages, wildfires and power Southern California Edison, the state’s second largest utility, also shut down electrical power to the

A wildfire that began along a popular hiking trail forced 1, 000 people to evacuate their homes in the hills northeast of Los Angeles on Sunday, officials said. Some 45 people celebrating a wedding at a mountain campground were lifted from the area by helicopter after the fire cut off their exit trail.

State officials concluded that fire was sparked by a PG&E; transmission line.

Many residents in the blackout-targeted region had barely recovered from a previous shut-off.

Jon Robinson, 52, of Rough and Ready, said the earlier shut-off put him in the hospital for several days for the stomach flu. He'd been tending to his sick grandson and got worn down between that and taking care of animals on his ranch.

Robinson was unsure if his family, who moved to California seven years ago, will remain in the state much longer.

‘‘Before this, we planned on staying,’’ he said. ‘‘But I'll tell you what, it’s just too nerve-racking.’’

For many people affected by the shut-offs, there have been painful business-related losses.

In Newcastle, about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento, 65-year-old Sukhwinder Singh works the cash register at Quality Market, a local convenience store. During the previous outage, Singh said he worked in the dark, but customers did not want to buy his warm soda and melted ice cream. He estimates he lost about $1,100 in sales and products. Singh has a generator now but said he can’t keep it running all night when the store is closed.

‘‘I don’t know how we can pay the bills at the end of the month,’’ he said.

In Loomis, about 5 miles from of Newcastle, Scott Paris estimates that he lost about $20,000 in business proceeds when he had to shut down his High-Hand Nursery and Cafe when PG&E; turned off the power earlier this month. And that was just for about 24 hours during a weekday.

This time he expects to lose power on a weekend, when he might typically do $50,000 to $60,000 worth of business on a beautiful fall Sunday.

‘‘We’re scrambling to get enough generators,’’ he said. ‘‘If this is the new normal, it’s going to drive up a lot of costs. It drives up stress.’’

In Marin County, just north of San Francisco, the sheriff’s office warned that a power shut-off would likely knock out some traffic lights. Intersections with inoperable lights should be treated as a four-way stop, the office said.

Even before the new blackout order, the University of California, Berkeley announced it was canceling all Saturday afternoon classes, as well as other indoor events and activities scheduled through Sunday.

A Florida utility, Florida Power & Light, announced it was sending 100 line workers and support staff to help PG&E; restore power to areas with outages caused by the wildfires.

Trump threatens to cut US funding for California wildfires .
The US president picked a Twitter fight with California’s governor Gavin Newsom.Neither of the two major fires burning in California are on forest land.

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