SANTA ROSA (KPIX) – The first planned power shutoffs of the wildfire season were getting underway Monday night, affecting more than 22,000 Bay Area residents, most of them in Sonoma County.
For these residents, lightning pushed the start of fire season and now, another danger begins. The red flag warning in the North Bay mountains has forced the city of Santa Rosa Fire to prepare for another Public Safety Power Shutoff.
This is about the ninth time Santa Rosa has dealt with a PSPS. It often impacts communities east of the city. While many say it’s an annoyance, they are now well prepared for another black out.
“It’s definitely been hard with those windy nights and this heat there’s some PTSD there,” says Jenni Etimoe, a Santa Rosa resident.
The community in the Rincon Valley area, has dealt with numerous devastating fires over the last few years. Now, PG&E’s shutoffs are just part of their lives.
“We sort of saw this coming. So we did some preparations by the way of a solar generator,” says Chris Barbour.
As soon as the City of Santa Rosa got word of the possibility of a PSPS, it activated its emergency operations center. The fire department up staffed its stations to prepare for the potential for another fire.
“The concern now is we have the winds, says Paul Lowenthal with the Santa Rosa Fire Department. “So we’ve had several days of hot temperatures and low humidities. Is definitely a concern for ours.”
PG&E expects this particular PSPS event will roughly impact 172,000 customers in 22 counties. While Santa Rosa residents say it’s an inconvenience, it’s one they are willing to deal with to protect their homes.
Chris Barbour adds, “You can’t underestimate what can happen. We saw that in the Tubbs Fire and everything we’ve seen since then.”