LOS ANGELES — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):
Pacific Gas and Electric says it has restored power to more than half of the nearly 2 million people left in the dark in Northern California after the utility shut down power to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires during dry, windy weather.
PG&E says it has restored electricity to about 426,000 businesses and residences. Another 312,000 customers remain without power. Experts say a customer includes between two and three people.
Areas without power includes Plumas, Yuba and Butte counties, where people are on their third day without electricity. Butte County is where a fire started by PG&E equipment last year decimated the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.
The utility says power also remain out in of Kern County in the southern part of the state’s agricultural Central Valley, where strong winds prompted PG&E to cut power on Thursday.
The utility it was able to restore power after winds subsided and workers could inspect its power lines.
A wildfire fueled by Santa Ana winds has closed two freeways, is threatening homes and has forced evacuations around Los Angeles.
Fire officials say the Saddleridge fire had consumed more than 4,600 acres by 3 a.m. Friday.
It broke out after 9 p.m. Thursday along the 210 Freeway and jumped the highway. Flames also crossed the 5 Freeway. The highways were closed because of heavy smoke.
Authorities have ordered mandatory evacuations in the Granada Hills, Porter Ranch and Oakridge Estates
Several homes were seen burning in Granada Hills, and the LA fire department said an “unknown number” of homes were potentially threatened.
There were no reports of injuries.
The blaze comes as hot, dry winds are raising concerns that the region’s largest utility could widen power shutoffs to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.
Hot, dry winds sweeping into Southern California raised concerns that the region’s largest utility could widen power shutoffs Friday to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.
Southern California Edison turned off electricity to about 20,000 people but warned that thousands more could lose service as Santa Ana winds gained strength.
Meanwhile Winds gusted dangerously as forecast in Northern California before weather conditions eased and the lights started to come back on. Planned blackouts affected millions and Pacific Gas & Electric faced hostility and second-guessing for its widespread shutoffs.
Over 500,000 PG&E customers were still waiting for power to come back on as of Thursday night.
The Associated Press