Power outages in Oregon can make fires less dangerous
Threats of wildfires and power outages extended beyond California on Friday. Oregon purposefully turned off the electricity for tens of thousands of customers due to strong winds.
In dry, hot weather, local utilities shut electricity to prevent flames. Power disruptions resulting from severe fire conditions are fairly recent in the Pacific Northwest.
On Friday, there was a lot of concern about the Cedar Creek Fire in central Oregon. According to a spokesman, "the east winds are pushing the fire west and we'll have really severe fire conditions through Saturday."
In areas where there is a considerable risk of wildfire, utility providers perform a "Public Safety Power Shutoff." According to the website, downed power lines could start or fuel a wildfire.
By late Friday, more than 40,000 customers, including residents in Portland's affluent West Hills neighbourhood, might lose power as gusts of 60 mph and temperatures in the mid 80s and low 90s reach some areas.
Officials cautioned residents to charge smartphones and prepare to escape as schools in expected power loss zones suspended classes.