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October 25, 2019

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California wildfire explodes, doubles size

A NORTHERN California wildfire exploded in size early yesterday as dangerously windy weather prompted the state’s largest utility to impose electrical blackouts in an effort to prevent fire catastrophes.

Authorities ordered all 900 residents of the community of Geyserville to evacuate after the fire in the Sonoma County wine region north of San Francisco grew to more than 39 square kilometers.

There were no reports of injuries and no immediate information about what caused the fire, but the wildfire risk was extremely high as humidity levels plunged and winds gusted up to 113 kilometers an hour.

The Pacific Gas & Electric Co utility on Wednesday began rolling blackouts stretching from the Sierra foothills in the northeast to portions of the San Francisco Bay Area in a bid to keep the electrical grid from causing fires.

The blackouts impacted a half-million people — or nearly 180,000 customers — in 15 counties, and PG&E warned that a second round of outages could occur over the weekend when winds were forecast to return.

Hot and dry Santa Ana winds were expected to hit Southern California yesterday and the Southern California Edison utility warned that it might black out about 308,000 customers.


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