The Latest: Chef plans party before food spoils in outage

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on tens of thousands of people losing power in California because of wildfire danger (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

The chef of an iconic California wine country restaurant is planning a block party to feed the “stressed out” community if power isn’t restored soon.

All Seasons chef Kevin Kathman in Calistoga said about $12,000 worth of food will spoil Monday if his refrigerators remain out of service.

Rather than toss the food, Kathman said he will grill over fire and tap warming kegs of beer for worried neighbors, including winery owners in the middle of their annual grape harvest.

Kathman says he understands Pacific Gas & Electric’s new strategy of cutting power when weather conditions heighten the wildfire risk.

But he questions the need to cut power now, saying there was almost no wind blowing in Calistoga.

Authorities have blamed PG&E power lines for sparking some of California’s most destructive wildfires.

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12:30 p.m.

San Diego Gas & Electric became the second California utility to shut off power to some customers as a precautionary measure to prevent wildfires amid lashing winds throughout the state.

Spokesman Wes Jones said Monday that electricity was turned off to about 360 customers in foothill areas near Cleveland National Forest, where wildfires have scorched large swaths of land in recent years.

Pacific Gas & Electric turned out the lights on tens of thousands of customers in Northern California wine country and nearby counties.

The utilities announced plans to shut power preemptively as red flag warnings for increased fire danger went up across California.

Authorities have blamed PG&E power lines for sparking some of California’s most destructive wildfires.

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11:15 a.m.

Some California residents who had their power shut off as a precaution against wildfires say they did not get proper warning ahead of the widespread outage.

Ice cream shop owner Stewart Munnerlyn said he was scrambling Monday to borrow a generator from a customer. His ice creamery in Pine Grove, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Sacramento, lost power Sunday night.

He says he stands to lose about $8,000 worth of ice cream and would have liked more notice from Pacific Gas & Electric.

Munnerlyn says he got text messages over the weekend saying power might be shut off for wildfire safety. But he says he never received a definitive message about an outage.

The utility has shut power to tens of thousands of customers, an unprecedented step to prevent downed power lines from starting a wildfire. PG&E says nearly 90,000 customers lost power in more than a dozen Northern California counties.

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10:55 a.m.

Officials say a tree toppled by strong winds sweeping parts of California has killed a motorist.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito says a eucalyptus tree fell on the woman’s car early Monday in an apartment complex in Tustin.

The victim was 34. No further details were released.

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7:16 a.m.

Northern California’s biggest utility has shut power to tens of thousands of customers, an unprecedented step to prevent wildfires amid rising winds and official warnings of extreme fire danger.

Pacific Gas & Electric began turning off the lights in California’s wine country and nearby counties Sunday evening and schools canceled Monday classes throughout the district.

PG&E announced earlier this year its plan to shut power preemptively after authorities blamed its power lines for sparking some of the state’s most destructive wildfires. The utility is on the hook for billions of dollars of damages and has sought to limit its wildfire liability in the courts and the Legislature.

The National Weather Service forecast winds gusting to 45 mph throughout the parched north state covered with drought-dried vegetation.

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This story has been corrected to reflect the proper spelling of Kevin Kathman, not Kathmann.

Categories: California News