Yuba County public information officer Russ Brown said residents need to prepare for power to be shut off for as long as five days.
“Be prepared for the long haul, could be a few days, could be a week,” Brown said.
Brown said the next few days’ forecast of winds and dry conditions are similar to when the Cascade Fire in Loma Rica broke out Oct. 8, 2017, and burned 9,989 acres, destroyed more than 250 structures and killed four people.
At the two-year anniversary of that fire, the National Weather Service is calling for the biggest red flag weather event of the season, with projected sustained valley winds from 15-25 mph and with gusts ranging from 35-45 mph.
The NWS says the period for the strongest winds will likely be from early Wednesday to early Thursday morning.
“We’re anticipating PG&E to shut off the power late Tuesday (around midnight) to early Wednesday morning,” Brown said. “People need to prepare for five days, or definitely through the weekend. Make arrangements to stay with friends and family.”
There was no indication, as of yet, that the Marysville vicinity would be included.
PG&E said about 30 counties are likely to be affected in the pending power shutoff. Portions of Yuba County, including the foothills, as well as Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Mariposa, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Tuolumne and Yolo.
Brown expects about 8,000 Yuba County residents to be without power this week. He said the Office of Emergency Services is working with PG&E to get the Alcouffe Center in Oregon House open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. or beyond – the community center can be visited by people who need to access electricity to power electronic gear, including medical devices.
A Cascade Fire survivor and relative of a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. employee said people need to watch who they blame for power shutoffs.
Mary Mays, a Loma Rica resident of 32 years, said preparation in the event of a power shutoff is crucial and residents need to get their own properties in order, rather than blame those who are shutting off the power.
“It’s something we’re going to learn to live with,” Mays said. “It’s unfair (but) the decision is being made in San Francisco. I wish people would step back and realize the guys in the trucks are not the enemy.”
Mays, who has a family member who has been working for PG&E for nearly 20 years, said people need to let the field workers do their jobs.
Mays said she thinks PG&E has been exceptionally good at contacting residents via text, phone call, email in advance of possible shutoffs.
Brown recommends that foothill residents prepare by making sure medical devices are charged, having plenty of fuel for generators and making arrangements for someplace to stay.
Since PG&E resources are likely to be spread thin due to the number of counties affected, Brown said restoration efforts are likely to take a longer time.
For more information about the pending power shutoff visit www.BePreparedYuba.org.