High fire danger means more Northern California power shutoffs

High fire danger led to another round of public safety power shutoffs in parts of the Bay Area.

On Monday morning a small portion of Northern California, like Chico and Paradise, woke up with no power. And in all, about 25,000 PG&E customers could be affected through Tuesday morning.

Customers in Solano County near Vacaville and neighborhoods near St. Helena and customers in Contra Costa County near Brentwood lost power. About 3,800 customers in San Ramon also lost power.

It’s all because of a mix of a red flag warning and wind advisory leading to fire danger that’s considered extreme in some areas.

The heightened fire danger may prompt PG&E to de-energize power lines in targeted areas across 22 counties Monday, so equipment doesn’t have the potential to spark a fire.

In Napa County, even the Cal Fire Sonoma, Lake, Napa unit, located in the southeastern part of the county, is not immune to a public safety power shutoff.

SEE ALSO: PG&E warns of power shutoffs in East Bay, North Bay

"We definitely can be affected by the PSPS's, but we try to put generators in place to try and limit the power outages here at the fire houses so we can keep our radios and other infrastructure up and running," said Capt. Jason Fryer with Cal Fire.

Firefighter’s here are tracking the weather closely, and have their type three rig ready to respond quickly to the first outbreak of flames.

"We also upstaffed some of our other resources to make sure that we're at the ready and try and lean forward on our initial attack," said Fryer.

"It's been four years yesterday I believe since fire came through 2017," said Michael McQueeny as he recalled the Atlas fire that came within feet of his home on Wooden Valley Road.

MORE: Red flag warning hits Bay Area

His property sits in a high-risk area and is part of the PSPS zone.

He’s diligent about clearing brush and overall fire preparedness and says PSPS outages and fire danger have just become a routine way of life.

"Buy ice.  You put things in ice coolers, buy a lot of canned goods.  I have a generator I put on which keeps the water to the house, said McQueeny.

If the power shuts off, McQueeny says you can actually hear it.

"Just as soon as it starts you hear all the generators starting all over the hills."

With winds in the hills potentially gusting to 60 miles per hour during the red flag warning Sunday night through Tuesday, the extreme fire danger means a spark can quickly explode into a wildfire, a potential situation firefighters say everyone needs to be prepared for.

"They need to be paying attention and if there is an incident or something starting, then they definitely need to be aware of where it is at and its direction of travel in case they are in its path," said Fryer.  "And they need to evacuate and get out of the way."

Typically PSPS outages last as long as the weather event, but in some cases it can take a day or more longer before everyone has power fully restored.