As summer heats up, Calif. utility starts cutting power to prevent wildfires

Smokey the Bear sign next to a firefighter.

Enlarge / A firefighter
passes by a Smokey the Bear fire danger sign during a brush fire in
Burbank, Calif., on May 25, 2018. (credit:
Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images
)

This weekend, one of California’s largest utilities—Pacific
Gas and Electric (PG&E)—elected to shut off power to
customers in two counties as part of its newly-expanded “Public
Safety Power Shutoff” plan.

The plan was approved by California regulators in May as a way
to minimize the risk of wildfire in Northern California. As climate
change has made summers hotter and winter rain more unpredictable,
PG&E’s power lines sparked dangerous and destructive fires 2017
and 2018. In recent years, California fires caused by power lines
have burned millions of acres of land, razing homes and towns, and
killing residents who couldn’t evacuate quickly enough.

In order to combat these fires, PG&E is proactively shutting
down both distribution and transmissions lines when conditions are
dangerous enough. This weekend, hot, windy weather with low
humidity resulted in power outages for 20,500 residents of Butte
and Yuba counties, just west of the Tahoe and Plumas National
Forests.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
As summer heats up, Calif. utility starts cutting power to prevent wildfires