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The Latest: California fire danger may bring more blackouts

Updated: October 22, 2019 08:40 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Latest on California wildfires and possible pre-emptive power shutoffs (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

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Pacific Gas & Electric says it's given 24-hour notice to customers in 16 Northern California counties that it may shut off electricity to prevent gusty winds from downing power lines and sparking wildfires.

CEO Bill Johnson says PG&E will decide Wednesday morning whether to begin power shutoffs Wednesday evening.

PG&E says the shutoffs depend on the risk from dry, gusty weather that's forecast in much of the state over the next several days.

Johnson says forecasters are also keeping an eye on another possible wind event that could lead to preventative blackouts over the weekend into early next week.

The utility says about 189,000 homes and businesses could be affected on Wednesday - mostly in the Sierra foothills and to the north of the San Francisco Bay Area. The shutoffs could last 48 hours.

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12:20 p.m.

Southern California firefighters are working to complete containment lines around the remnants of two wildfires before the expected arrival of gusty winds.

Both fires erupted near homes as dry, hot air gripped the region Monday.

Authorities in the inland city of San Bernardino say a 17-acre (6.9-hectare) fire heavily damaged three homes, and six others had minor to moderate damage.

A family of two adults and two children was treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns, and two firefighters were treated for injuries and released from hospitals.

In Los Angeles, a 40-acre (16-hectare) fire in the Pacific Palisades area was 10% contained as of Tuesday.

The Fire Department says the flames threatened 628 homes, but none were seriously damaged or destroyed. All evacuations were lifted Monday night.

Firefighters are patrolling for hotspots that could flare with the arrival of winds Wednesday.

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10 p.m. Monday

Less than two weeks after blacking out much of Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric is warning it might shut off power to about a half-million people.

The utility says it's begun notifying about 200,000 homes and business that they may lose electricity as early as Wednesday to prevent gusty winds from downing power lines and sparking wildfires.

The shutoffs could last 48 hours and affect parts of 16 counties, mostly in the Sierra foothills and to the north of the San Francisco Bay Area.

PG&E says the shutoffs depend on the risk from hot, dry, gusty weather that's forecast over much of the state in the next few days.

PG&E also says it's beefed up its communications system following criticism that its Oct. 8 shutoff to some 2 million people caused chaos.

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(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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