- Pacific Gas & Electric worked over the weekend, supporting first responders including CAL FIRE, as three wildfires in the north and central portions of the state engulfed thousands of acres and destroyed utility infrastructure.
- Some 12,800 customers were without power, as of Sept. 13, and PG&E said it could not give a firm estimate of when service would be restored.
- PG&E said it was assessing the portions of its grid impacted by wildfires, which have been exacerbated by the Western drought and extreme temperatures.
As California wildfires sweep across tens of thousands of acres, claiming lives and structures, power outages may be among the lesser issues. But PG&E said it was working to support first responders battling three blazes, and was looking into broader impacts on its electric grid.
"The safety of our customers, our employees and the first responders is our highest priority as we work together with CAL FIRE and local agencies to assess our systems and help our communities and customers get back on their feet," Barry Anderson, PG&E vice president of emergency preparedness and operations, said in a statement. "Our crews have been in these areas since the beginning, and we will be there for the duration."
A fire in Lake County, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, scorched more than 50,000 acres and disrupted service to 7,100 customers in PG&E's service territory.
Another fire in Amador and Calaveras counties has burned through more than 65,000 acres and damaged PG&E power lines and poles, causing power outages to approximately 5,600 customers. The utility said it was able to restore power to 5,000 customers in Pine Grove by providing temporary generation.
PG&E said its crews had gained limited access to the Valley, Butte and Rough fire areas, and were performing damage assessments and repairs where possible. More than 500 PG&E personnel are involved, with additional crews arriving.
Most recently, a PG&E power line contacting a tree is believed to have sparked the deadly Butte fire, which killed two people and burnt more than 70,000 acres in the Sierra foothills.
California's historical drought has contributed to 12 million dead trees in the state's forest, turning it into a tinderbox for one of the most epic fire seasons.