Oct 28, 2019

2020 Democrats weigh in on California wildfires

Windsor, California, being enveloped in smoke from the nearby burning Kincade Fire on Oct. 27. Photo: Philip Pacheco/AFP via Getty ImagesCa

Big fires and power outages are wreaking havoc in California and spreading into the 2020 elections, too.

The intrigue: The fires, PG&E's controversial shut-offs, and criticism of the power giant have spilled into the presidential race.

  • "It is time to begin thinking about public ownership of major utilities," Bernie Sanders tweeted yesterday.
  • He also noted, "Climate change is real, and when I am president, we are going to treat this like the existential crisis it is."
  • Sanders' climate plan calls for expanding the system of federal Power Marketing Administrations and focusing them on renewables and storage.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren tweeted that California's wildfires "will only grow more dangerous and destructive until we act to stop the climate crisis."

Go deeper: In photos: California wildfires spread by hurricane force winds

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California to open investigation into PG&E for power shutoffs

Streaks of lights from vehicles drive along highway 24 during the PG&E power outage in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday. Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The California Public Utilities Commission announced Monday it will open an investigation into a series of power shutoffs by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) that were meant to curtail wildfires.

Where it stands: PG&E began to cut power to more than 2 million people over the weekend in an attempt to prevent further fires. The Commission says it will examine how public safety power shutoffs are conducted in the future and seek to "drive down risks of ignitions from utility infrastructure, risks that result from power loss, and the disruption to communities and commerce."

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

PG&E returns power to most California customers, but thousands remain in the dark

Restaurant owners use candles and a flashlight in Sonoma, California, Oct. 9. Photo: Brittany Hosea-Small/AFP via Getty Images

PG&E said Thursday it restored power to nearly 328,255 customers since the Oct. 29 weather "all clear" was given for areas in northern and central California, though 36,745 customers remain without power.

The big picture: PG&E faces an investigation by the California Public Utilities Commission over its series of power shutoffs, which have affected millions and aimed to prevent the spread of wildfires during high-wind periods and dry spells. There are currently 15 fires spreading throughout California, per the Los Angeles Times.

Go deeperArrowOct 31, 2019

California fire season could last until December

A firefighter douses flames from a backfire during the Maria Fire in Santa Paula, California, on Nov. 1. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

California could continue to endure wildfires until December as a late start to the rainy season looks increasingly likely — particularly in the south of the state, the Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center warns in a new report.

This may be a long fall and winter across California for both the fire-fighting community and the general public in terms of coping with the threat of fires."
Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019