California utility admits it may have ignited fire




  • In US
  • 2019-10-25 14:56:54Z
  • By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - California's biggest utility admitted its electrical equipment may have ignited a wildfire burning in wine country Friday, despite blackouts imposed across the region to prevent blazes. Meanwhile, a wind-whipped fire destroyed homes near Los Angeles.

More than 50,000 people were under evacuation orders in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles as hot, dry Santa Ana winds howling at up to 50 mph (80 kph) drove the flames into neighborhoods. At least six homes were burned. No immediate injuries were reported.

In Northern California, a blaze near the Sonoma County wine country town of Geyserville burned 49 buildings and prompted evacuation orders for some 2,000 people.

The fire burned at least 25 square miles (65 square kilometers), whipped up by the strong winds that had prompted Pacific Gas & Electric to impose sweeping blackouts affecting a half-million people in Northern and Central California. Power was restored to most people by Thursday evening, PG&E said.

The power shut-offs were imposed after PG&E electrical equipment was blamed for several blazes in recent years that killed scores of people and burned thousands of homes.

However, PG&E said Thursday it didn't de-energize a 230,000-volt transmission line near Geyserville that malfunctioned minutes before the fire erupted. The company reported finding a "broken jumper" wire on a transmission tower Wednesday night.

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said it was too soon to know if the faulty equipment ignited the fire. He said the tower had been inspected four times in the past two years and appeared to have been in excellent condition.

In shutting off the electricity, PG&E cut power to the distribution lines that supply homes, but not to its long-distance transmission lines.

In Southern California, firefighters on the ground and in the air struggled to protect homes surrounded by trees and brush as the wind-driven fire there grew to 4,300 acres (1,740 hectares).

In some places, they failed. As hot embers flew, subdivision homes and rural ranch properties were damaged or destroyed in the Canyon Country area of Santa Clarita and in nearby Castaic.

Alejandro Corrales tearfully watched her home burn on a ridge in Canyon Country, taking with it her mother's ashes, other belongings and possibly a pen full of pet sheep.

"I'm literally seeing sticks and fire of what used to be our home," she told KCBS-TV.

"Everything in the house is gone," Corrales said. "The panels on one of the pens where we have some rescued sheep was too hot for my daughter to open, and so she couldn't let them out. ... So I'm probably sure that we lost them, too."

Some residents tried to fight the blaze with garden hoses. People rushed to rescue dozens of horses, donkeys, goats, a pig and an emu.

Officials said a firefighting helicopter was grounded after its windshield was damaged by a collision with a bird.

High winds were expected to continue through the morning and taper off by late afternoon. Southern California Edison, which shut off electricity to more than 31,000 customers on Thursday, was considering additional power cuts to more than 386,000.

The huge Los Angeles school district closed all its schools in the San Fernando Valley, citing poor air quality and other safety concerns.

While the high winds in Northern California had died down by Friday, they were expected to pick up over the weekend, with gusts of 40 to 60 mph in many places, and PG&E warned it may black out an even larger region.

PG&E chief meteorologist Scott Strenfel said Northern California could be in for the strongest offshore winds in years.

___

Gecker reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Janie Har and Juliet Williams in San Francisco and John Antczak and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Federal judge blocks effort to transfer coronavirus patients to California city
Federal judge blocks effort to transfer coronavirus patients to California city

The plan was to move dozens of patients who tested positive for the coronavirus from Travis Air Force Base in Northern California to Costa Mesa.

Coronavirus updates: Cases in South Korea surge as U.S. prepares for pandemic
Coronavirus updates: Cases in South Korea surge as U.S. prepares for pandemic

As number of cases in South Korea surge, here is the latest news on Feb. 22.

California rejects Trump effort to cut off federal funds over abortion
California rejects Trump effort to cut off federal funds over abortion
  • US
  • 2020-02-21 23:28:29Z

Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, both Democrats, accused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of threatening billions of dollars of funding, not just for abortions, by reversing the Obama administration's view of a federal law governing insurance coverage. In a letter to Roger Severino, director of HHS's Office for Civil Rights ("OCR"), Becerra said California already complied with the law, citing OCR's 2016 ruling in the state's favor in similar cases, and that a provision in the state constitution protected the right to have an abortion as a privacy right.

California Gov Newsom Advocates for Doctors to
California Gov Newsom Advocates for Doctors to 'Write Prescriptions for Housing' to Treat Mental Illness

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday wrote that doctors should be able to prescribe housing like they are able to prescribe medication."Doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin or antibiotics," Newsom wrote in a Twitter post. "We need to start treating brain health like we do physical health. What's more fundamental to a person's well being than a roof over their head?"Newsom then appeared to link the treatment of mental health to his state's housing shortage."Physical health and brain health are inextricably linked. And our healthcare system has been designed to treat only one of those," Newsom wrote....

In California: ICE ignores state immigration laws
In California: ICE ignores state immigration laws

Turns out, federal officials don't really care how the state wants to manage immigration enforcement. And voters here lean heavily toward Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to take on President Trump. Plus, there's a series of events dedicated to the trailblazer who brought French cooking to the masses.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US