By Wilson Walker

LAKE BERRYESSA (KPIX) — Marcia Ritz says keeping her business at Lake Berryessa running on Saturday wasn’t easy.

“Electricity is hooked up to a generator which you can hear the in the background. No electricity on the lights, so we’re managing as much as we can.”

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PG&E turned electricity off around 6 a.m. to 1,600 customers in parts Napa, Solano and Yolo counties to guard against wildfires as the weather turned very windy, dry and hot. Just as that shutdown was called off, the utility warned 27,000 customers in Butte, Yuba, Nevada, El Dorado and Placer counties that their power would be cut from 9 p.m. through Sunday morning.

Over on Tony Sanchez’s front patio, the clock told the story.

“It tells us that’s when they shut the power off,” he says, laughing at the hands frozen at about 16 minutes after 6 a.m.

In every direction there were reminders of what was going on, most obviously the utility crews, PG&E and others, scattered along seemingly every roadway here, some at times shutting down lanes of traffic to work on those lines. So while this wasn’t the first power outage here, the preemptive power shutdowns are still a little new.

“I think that PG&E is being cautious, which they need to be,” says Ritz. “But it’s very inconvenient.”

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Out in Berryessa Highlands, neighbors were pooling resources.

“Great example,” said Sanchez, “One neighbor who does have a generator came down, he took all my food from my freezer, took it up to his house.”

So if sustained risk of catastrophic fire is the new normal, this would be the new routine.

“I think this is the wave of the future now,” Sanchez said. “You’re going to have to be self-reliant, we’re gonna have our own generator. We have to take care of ourselves.

“You have to live with it,” said Ritz. “You have to do what you have to do to stay open and survive.”

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