SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — With a red flag warning in effect this weekend for the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills, PG&E is prepared to cut power if extreme fire-weather conditions should develop.
PG&E’s new Wildfire Safety Operations Center at the utility’s San Francisco headquarters is staffed with firefighters, meteorologists and engineers who will decide if the hot, dry and windy weather conditions this weekend will call for pre-emptive power outages.READ MORE: UPDATE: Evacuation Orders Downgraded to Warnings as Crews Mop Up Estrada Fire Near Watsonville
Friday marked the first red flag warning since the wildfire center has been operational. PG&E said a number of factors would come into play before making a decision to cut off power. “We’re talking about looking at this as a case-by case situation,” said PG&E spokeswoman Andrea Menniti.
PG&E will be focused on weather conditions specifically affecting its equipment, said Menniti. In addition to data from the National Weather Service the utility has 50 strategically-placed weather stations throughout its service area. “Which just further enhances our monitoring capabilities,” said Menniti.
Despite the red flag warning this weekend, she says there are no plans for preemptive outages, which PG&E calls a last resort -prompted only by extreme weather events.READ MORE: Pleasant Hill Police Ask Public for Help Finding Stabbing Suspect
When possible, PG&E plans to give customers a 24-48 hour advance notice. Menniti warned people don’t have to live in an extreme fire-threat zone to be impacted by a pre-emptive outage.
Resident who want to find out if they might be affected can head to the PG&E website click on “Wildfire Safety – Action Required” under “Current Alerts.”
Then click “See if you’re impacted” and type in your address. “We’re encouraging people to update their contact information,” said Menniti.MORE NEWS: Alameda Police Seek Person of Interest in Friday Night Shooting
PG&E stresses that updating your contact info is crucial to getting these pre-emptive alerts. As extreme weather events become more common, it’s likely not “if” they’ll be necessary, but when.