Latest: Utility weighs weather to cut power again amid winds

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

9:30 a.m.

There’s no word yet from the state’s largest utility on whether it might cut electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers in Northern California as winds pick up and fire danger looms.

Pacific Gas & Electric said it would decide Saturday morning whether to turn off power to 850,000 homes and businesses in 36 counties across the San Francisco Bay Area, wine country and Sierra foothills.

Previous shutdowns occurred over concern that gusts could down power lines and spark fires.

Meanwhile a huge wildfire churning through wine country grew overnight while containment also increased. Cal Fire says Saturday that the Kincade Fire has consumed nearly 40 square miles (104 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber. It’s 10% contained.

In Southern California, authorities lifted more evacuations as lessening winds allow crews get a handle on a wildfire near suburbs north of Los Angeles.


12:05 a.m.

Millions of Californians are preparing to live in the dark again after the state’s largest utility warned it may cut power for the third time in as many weeks because of looming strong winds and high fire danger.

Pacific Gas & Electric will decide Saturday whether to blackout 850,000 homes and businesses in 36 counties for 48 hours or longer throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, wine country and Sierra foothills.

The two previous shutdowns were done amid concern that gusty winds could foul or knock down power lines and spark devastating wildfires.

Weather forecasts are calling for record strong winds to lash much of the region over the weekend, with some gusts hitting 85 mph.

PG&E’s warning came as firefighters battled flames in Northern and Southern California.

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