UPDATED 12:35 PM PST – Wednesday October 9, 2019
Nearly one million residents in the Golden State are dealing with power outages as officials work to avert potential wildfires. Pacific Gas and Electric began turning off power to customers in Northern and Central California on Wednesday, amid forecasts of weather that could create extreme fire damage.
“We take this red flag warning extremely seriously,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “We all know the devastation that fires can cause — this is a time to be extremely vigilant.”
On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning in several cities from Ventura to San Diego. Forecasters warned that these areas could see wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, high temperatures and single digit humidity. These conditions elevate the potential risk of wildfire, especially in areas with a lot of dry brush.
More than half of the state’s 58 counties are dealing with power outages, which are expected to last through Thursday afternoon.
“The areas that we’re most concerned about is in the Santa Clarita Valley area, Moorpark, Simi Valley…parts of the Santa Monica Mountains that haven’t burned in recent years,” a fire official explained.
Several fire departments have said they will be working around the clock with additional personnel during this time period.