More than 3,300 Yuba County residents are expected to be impacted by a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power shutoff this weekend due to fire weather conditions, according to Yuba County media and community relations coordinator Russ Brown.
The shutoff could impact approximately 97,000 customers in portions of 15 counties in the Northern Sierra and North Valley.
The shutoff is expected to start Sunday morning and last through Monday, according to PGE. Updates about the shutoff can be found at www.pge.com/pspupdates.
Hannah Chandler-Cooley with the National Weather Service Sacramento said it’s going to be hot and dry this weekend, with low humidity and gusty winds. Those factors mean a Red Flag Warning will be in effect in Yuba County starting tonight through Monday around noon.
She said winds will be strongest in higher elevations with gusts on Saturday night through Monday of up to 20-25 miles per hour. Winds could increase to 25-30 mph on Sunday night into Monday morning at higher elevation. In the valley section of the county, wind gusts of up to 20-25 mph are expected on Sunday.
Temperatures in Yuba County today will reach the mid- to upper 80s, the low to mid-90s on Sunday and mid- to upper 90s on Monday, according to Chandler-Cooley.
“It will remain hot and dry through next week,” Chandler-Cooley said.
The weather is not expected to change until Wednesday or Thursday of next week. However, wind gusts like the ones expected this weekend are not in the forecast for next week, meaning critical fire weather conditions won’t be present.
Despite that, Chandler-Cooley urged people to continue practicing fire safety because even without winds, it won’t take much to start a fire with hot and dry conditions.
Cal Fire’s Friday briefing about the progress of the North Complex Fire was optimistic, according to an update from Yuba County Office of Emergency Services. The only concern is related to the winds expected this weekend in Yuba County.
“Fire crews accomplished a lot of work along the fire line north of Forbestown, and work continued to ensure risks were further reduced above Challenge, Clipper Mills and the rest of the communities along La Porte Road,” the update read. “Near Forbestown, Cal Fire teams are working today (Friday) to ‘mop up’ about 500 feet from the edge of the fire line and into the burn area, to prepare for the winds.”
Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Shane Lauderdale said Friday morning during a video briefing that the west side of the complex has been a suppression success. He said crews are working on the interior of the complex, eliminating hazards such as falling trees and downed power lines.
As of Friday, the complex was 304, 492 acres and was 78 percent contained. To date, 2,360 structures have been damaged or destroyed and 15 people have been killed. Two first responders have been injured.
“Hopefully North Complex West Zone can be put behind us next week,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post Friday.
As of Friday, most areas in northern Yuba County have been reduced to an “evacuation warning” while Forbestown remains under a mandatory evacuation order. On Thursday, the mandatory evacuation orders for Challenge, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills and Strawberry Valley were reduced to evacuation warnings. Due to high winds over the weekend, evacuation warnings have been expanded to include Brownsville and Rackerby.
“We expect the fire evacuation status of Forbestown and warnings from Rackerby and Brownsville up to Strawberry Valley, will remain in place through the weekend due to the continued firefighting efforts of the North Complex West Zone and concerns about this weekend’s weather/wind forecast,” Yuba County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Leslie Carbah said in an email.
Current road closures include New York Flat Road north of La Porte Road, Challenge Cut Off Road north of La Porte Road, Forbestown Road north of Abernathy Road, and Woodleaf Tunnel Road north of La Porte Road, according to Yuba County OES.
– Household residents in Dobbins, Strawberry Valley, Challenge, Camptonville, Brownsville and Oregon House will be issued an automatic replacement of CalFresh benefits to restore food loss as a result of wildfire and power outages, according to Yuba County OES.
Replacement benefits will be automatically loaded onto an existing recipient’s EBT card on Sunday. The amount will be 50 percent of the total monthly allotment a household typically receives.
– Anthem Blue Cross is offering no-cost online access to doctors 24/7 for those who’ve been evacuated. For more information, visit yuba.org/emergency. Yuba County residents who have been evacuated and need shelter and meals, can contact the Red Cross at 276-8034.