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PG&E plans another major power outage this week as Diablo winds return

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Spot fires within the Kincade fire line Chalk Hill Road near Healdsburg, Calif., on Sunday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

With new Diablo winds coming, Pacific Gas & Electric announced Monday it could shut off power to 605,000 customers Tuesday and Wednesday in its latest bid to reduce the wildfire risk.

The blackout would cover more than two dozen Northern California counties and comes just days after a much larger power cut that covered nearly 1 million customers over the weekend.

With the big Kincade fire spreading, Santa Rosa residents were forced to evacuate in darkness early Sunday amid Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power outages, using flashlights and cellphones as light sources. The number of evacuated residences had increased to 185,000, said Jay Tracy, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire grew almost 12,000 acres overnight into Monday and remained at just 5% containment as firefighters entered their fifth day battling the blaze. At least 96 structures have been destroyed, including 40 homes.

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Winds are expected to pick up again Tuesday and reach their peak in the evening, with gusts up to 70 mph, said Spencer Tangen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Fortunately, that should be the last such wind event — at least for this week, Tangen said. Forecasters don’t expect more such winds into early next week.

Diablo winds in Northern California are offshore winds similar to the Santa Anas in Southern California. They can create extremely dangerous fire conditions.


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