In a grim sign for the Northern California utility giant, Pacific Gas & Electric said Wednesday that if it is deemed responsible for the fire that destroyed much of Paradise, the liability would exceed its insurance coverage.
Tens of thousands of people in Northern California are without power and gas as a result of the deadly Camp fire, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Wednesday.
Since Monday, the utility has sent hundreds of crew members into the field and they have restored electricity to 2,200 homes. Still, 23,000 customers are without power and 12,000 others don’t have gas, the utility said.
“In many cases, immediate restoration may not be possible,” the utility said in a statement. “In those instances, PG&E is looking at a longer term rebuild of the system wherever and whenever customers rebuild their homes, and supporting our communities as they recover and rebuild.”
Weather conditions will improve for firefighters in the next few days, and the National Weather Service says rain could be on the way for burn areas in Southern California.
Jayme Laber, a hydrologist with the Oxnard branch of the weather service, said the wind direction is expected to shift 180 degree, which means the strong, dry winds from the desert that have fanned flames across the region will shift onshore, bringing more moisture.
“We’re going to see those offshore winds relaxing and tapering off, and we’re going to start seeing our typically afternoon sea breeze and that will last until tomorrow,” Laber said.
As authorities continue to assess widespread damage from the Woolsey fire’s devastating march through Malibu and other areas in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, fire officials this week found themselves at the center of scrutiny from residents who sought clarity about the blaze’s destruction in their coastal city.
Richard Bloom, a state assemblyman who represents Malibu and neighboring communities, said that in every major fire, questions arise about the deployment of resources.
“Why were they here and not here? These are important questions. They deserve answers. The responses are never quite perfect,” Bloom said. “What you’re looking for is coverage everywhere, which is virtually impossible given the limitations of resources.”
Billionaire with yacht, surfers and other volunteers get supplies to Malibu
It was the kind of relief effort one might expect to see only on one of those sun-kissed reality TV shows about wealthy, tanned and really good-looking people in Southern California.
As the Woolsey fire continued to burn, Bill Kerbox got a call Monday night from his friend whose 143-foot yacht, the Leight Star, was ready to be deployed. It boasts a helipad and plenty of space. The mission needed only one thing: volunteers and supplies to deliver to victims of the roughly 97,000-acre fire who had stayed behind.
The Woolsey fire grew slightly overnight, burning about 500 acres and growing the fire’s footprint to 97,620 acres as of Wednesday morning, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials.
The fire, which has torn through a swath of Ventura and Los Angeles counties since last week, was 47% contained early Wednesday, officials said.
The boost in containment comes as firefighters prepare for a third consecutive day of Santa Ana winds.
The fire has killed at least 48 people, destroyed more than 8,000 structures and scorched 135,000 acres in Butte County. It was 35% contained as of Wednesday morning, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials.