PG&E shuts power in effort to quell fires


PG&E began shutting off power to customers in an effort to prevent the start or spreading of California wild fires.

Michael Conefrey ’21, Religion Editor

More than 6,000 wild fires have ravaged California in 2019 alone, and many are quick to blame the Pacific Gas and Electric company, better known as PG&E, for some of the most destructive blazes of the season.

The fires have collectively destroyed around 250,000 acres of land and hundreds of buildings; a large portion of the destruction can be credited to the Kincaid fire in Sonoma. The October inferno wiped out about 77,000 acres of land and destroyed around 374 structures.The yet unconfirmed cause of the fire seems to be a malfunctioning PG&E power line, according to news reports.

PG&E’s preferred method of preventing further wild fires has been shutting off power to over 2.7 million people across 30 counties, often for days at a time. This technique has proven to be wildly unpopular among both the people and the state government.

California Governor Gavin Newsom was quick to blame PG&E’s “greed and mismanagement” for the fires and subsequent blackouts, while some citizens took a modernistic approach in venting their frustration. One PG&E station was reportedly vandalized,while another citizen went as far as to fire shots at a PG&E vehicle.

“People lost the power to refrigerate their food, air condition their homes, light their homes and access the internet and TV, so I’m not surprised so many people are angry,” said Josue Reyes ’21.

While Governor Newsom pointed at PG&E’s neglect, some blame the state’s environmentalist approach to forest management. These critics claim that both the state and federal government’s refusal to implement prescribed burns have drastically increased the risk of forest fires.