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As fires burn, thousands in California without power

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 24, 2019 - Duration: 01:41s

As fires burn, thousands in California without power

Thousands of homes and businesses in California were in the dark, Thursday, as Pacific Gas & Electric turned off power in over a dozen counties as a preventive measure against wildfires.

PG&E said additional power shutoffs are expected.

Jillian Kitchener has more.

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As fires burn, thousands in California without power

As wildfires scorch Northern California - like in wine-producing Sonoma County - thousands of residents have been left in the dark, Thursday.

California's bankrupt power producer, PG&E, shut off electricity in over a dozen counties as a preventative measure against wildfires.

That’s because - as the company says - hot, dry wind can knock down power lines and start fires in the dry trees and vegetation.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) CALIFORNIA RESIDENT MARK SHARP, SAYING: "If this truly keeps people from losing their homes or their lives, I'm all for it little inconvenience not a problem." Mark Sharp has seen devastation firsthand… he lost his home in a previous wildfire.

Others are more critical of the power outage.

Like Dennis Thomas who owns a pharmacy in Placerville.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) CALIFORNIA BUSINESS-OWNER DENNIS THOMAS, SAYING: “We have to completely turn our pharmacy upside down we are able to meet our customers needs.

They don't see all the work that's gone in over the last three days to prepare.” And Thomas has been through it before.

PG&E cut off electricity to more than 730,000 homes and workplaces in northern California earlier this month to try to reduce wildfire risks.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) CALIFORNIA BUSINESS-OWNER DENNIS THOMAS, SAYING: "Oh my gosh, this is a huge hassle." PG&E said additional power shutoffs are expected... With Southern California Edison looking at cutting power too...which would hit More than half a million homes and businesses in California.

In May, state fire investigators determined that PG&E transmission lines caused the deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record in California.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion from the fires.

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