As many know, California has been unfortunate this year with the 6,190 fires totaling 198,815 acres of burnt up land. These fires are still going on today leaving many without power, food, water, and even their homes. Firefighters tirelessly and nonstop try to combat these raging blazes in an attempt to save millions of people and homes. Hospitals are scrambling in order to find running refrigerators and freezers in order to keep medications safe.
Power Lines & Dry Environment Causing Wildfires:
California has recently gotten out of a 4-year drought leaving lots of dead brush across the state. Millions of these dead trees exist among an aging power delivery infrastructure, which combined is a lethal combination for both the fuel and ignition of wildfires.
The recent being the Kincade Fire which is said to be ignited by a broken jumper cable on a Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) transmission tower. High winds mixed with the dead trees and power cables is what has been causing wildfires in California over the years. In late 2017, power lines owned by PG&E were blamed to be the cause for over 12 wildfires.
Intentional Power Outages to Try & Prevent Wildfires
In order to prevent the fires from spreading, Pacific Gas & Electric has turned to shutting off power leaving millions of people in the dark in October. When strong winds are predicted to blow into dry areas, this causes Red Flag Warning areas across the state. Keeping the power grid on when this happens is risky so PG&E intentionally shuts the power down in these areas to lower the risk of a wild fire starting and clear themselves from the liability of a fire originating from their aging power grid.
Effects of These Power Outages
PG&E has been in bankruptcy, being unable to not only pay victims from previous fires, but improve their power grid and move it underground. In an attempt to prevent more damage and further bankruptcy, PG&E came up with a schedule of power outages for over 2 million customers. However, residents and businesses alike are furious as these power outages effect their livelihoods, causing small business to shut down, and preventing people from going to work and school. These extended power outages pose a risk for hospitals and medical centers, losing millions of dollars in vaccines, patients aren’t getting the surgical help they need, and for people that rely on their medications to be refrigerated, spoil due to these power outages.