Satellites show western wildfires spreading east as California counties could lose power to prevent blaze

·2-min read

Thousands of Californias are likely to lose power amid a service shutdown to prevent a wildfire.

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), a California utility company, told 39,000 customers across 16 counties in the north of the state that it may need to turn off power on Tuesday to prevent a wildfire.

The company said the shutoffs could last up to two days for some customers.

The announcement was prompted by a weather forecast of dry winds in the area through until Tuesday evening. The winds, combined with the sustained drought and dry vegetation in the area, are a perfect recipe to start a wildfire.

There is also concern that tall trees can strike power lines, the company said in a statement.

The shutoffs will mostly take place in Butte and Shasta counties. The Dixie fire has damaged Butte county in particular, and over 200,000 residents have been evacuated from that area.

The Dixie Fire, California’s second-largest fire ever, continues to torch northern California. It is currently 30 per cent contained.

The fire has burned for over a month, scorching half a million acres of land and destroying more than a thousand buildings. The blaze has also decimated the entire downtown area of Greenville, leaving residents with nowhere to go.

Nasa satellite images revealed how powerful winds were blowing wildfire smoke into eastern neighboring states like Nevada and Idaho. The smoke caused Nevada’s air quality to be in the unhealthy range.

PG&E’s faulty transmission line was behind the deadliest wildfire in California history. In 2018, the Camp Fire ripped through the town of Paradise, killing 85 people and destroying most of the buildings.

PG&E pleaded guilty to starting the fire in court and to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

In 2019, the utility provider reached a $13.5billion settlement with wildfire victims in California.

The climate crisis is causing severe droughts and hotter temperatures around the world, conditions that drive bigger and more unpredictable wildfires.

On Tuesday California Governor Gavin Newsom and Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, are touring the damage caused by the CZU Lightning Complex in 2020 at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. They will discuss how state and federal agencies are organizing recovery efforts for communities.

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