Yesterday, PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) warned that it might be switching of the power across almost 30 counties in the upper California area sometime this week, as threatening dry winds could lead to severe fires.
“We would encourage residents and businesses to prepare for being without power for potentially as long as seven days,” said Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose.
The impact of this will reach close to two million residents and almost 70 schools according to Liccardo. PG&E says that the shutdown would affect central, northern, coastal, and Bay Area counties.
The company stated that it’s likely the 2018 Camp Fire – one of California’s most potent fires to date, which took the lives of 85 people and demolished thousands of buildings – could have been caused by PG&E equipment. Later assessments from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection confirmed that the power company was at fault.
Stock up on food and water
A Fire Weather Watch has been established for the next few days over northern regions of California. The National Weather Service said that there is a possibility of destructive winds, low humidity, and potent fire developments.
“This has the potential to be the strongest offshore wind event of the year,” says the National Weather Service. “The time to prepare is now.”
Mayor Liccardo said that San Jose has been getting ready for such an incident for the last three months.
“Some of what we need to do to get ready will in fact take years,” said Liccardo. “That is ensuring we have sufficient backup power generation, establishing microgrids where we can do so, things of that nature.”
Residents have been advised to hold up in their homes and form emergency kits with sufficient food and water for the household, as street lamps and traffic lights won’t be operational if the power is turned off.