Vallejo Declares Water Emergency Amid Fires and Power Shut-offs in NorCal
The San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo has declared a water emergency as authorities fight two nearby fires and its pumping station is left unable to treat water because of a pre-emptive power shut-off.
The Vallejo Reporter reports that the emergency declared Sunday means outdoor water use is prohibited and residents are asked to reduce indoor use such as bathing and toilet flushing.
Joanna Altman, assistant to the Vallejo city manager, says the pre-emptive blackout ordered by Pacific Gas & Electric to try to prevent wildfires means the city doesn’t have access to well water.
She says before the blackout, water use rose as people rushed to store water, making the water problem worse.
Strong winds have knocked down numerous trees and power lines across Oakland, taking out electricity to nearly 2,000 residents who were otherwise not in areas affected by PG&E’s planned power outages.
Oakland Fire Department spokesman Michael Hunt said about 1,800 residents lost power Sunday as winds kicked up to 50 mph. He said dispatchers received about 20 calls about fallen trees and another 35 reports of downed power lines.
The utility intentionally turned off power to more than 2.3 million people on Saturday in an effort to prevent its equipment from sparking deadly wildfires.
Pacific Gas & Electric says it is monitoring a third major wind event expected later this week in Northern California that could lead to widespread power shut-offs.
The company says in a news release Sunday that the power shut-off would affect people in 32 counties starting Tuesday morning through midday Wednesday.
The utility already has turned off power to more than 2.3 million people in an effort to prevent its equipment from sparking deadly wildfires.
Those outages are expected to last through Monday morning.
If the winds hold and the utility cuts power, it would be the third major power shut-off in a week.
Vallejo is 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) south of Geyserville where a massive wildfire forced 180,000 people to flee their communities.