Amit hot weather, California turns off power to millions to prevent wildires
Rolling blackouts affecting up to 800,000 customers began Wednesday in parts of California as a utility company switched off power because of hot, windy weather that raises the risk of wildfires.
Pacific Gas & Electric, which announced the three-phase deliberate power outage, is working to prevent a repeat of a catastrophe last November in which power lines it owned were determined to have sparked California's deadliest wildfire ever.
In that inferno, 85 people died and a town called Paradise was virtually destroyed. The company has been found responsible for dozens of other wildfires in recent years, too.
This is peak wildfire season in California.
PG&E said the severe weather incident prompting the precautions this time -- hot, dry conditions and winds gusting at up to 70 mph (110 kph) -- is expected to last through mid-day Thursday in parts of northern and central California.
The outages could last up to a week in some places. Some 800,000 customers actually means millions of people will be affected.