California power company is cutting electricity to around 800,000 home

(BBC) – A power company is cutting electricity to around 800,000 homes, businesses and other locations in Northern California, in an attempt to prevent wildfires.

Large swathes of the San Francisco Bay Area – though not the city itself – have lost power, angering residents.

The region’s utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), has warned the shutdown could last several days.

The company’s transmission lines started the deadliest wildfire in California’s history last year.

With weather forecasts predicting high winds, the move is intended to prevent the risk of fallen power lines igniting more wildfires.

“The conditions are ripe: dry fuel, high winds, warm event. Any spark can create a significant event,” said Ray Riordan, director of the Office of Emergency Management in San Jose, during a press conference on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the Santa Cruz Mountains, North and East Bay regions until Thursday, warning that conditions could result in “the strongest offshore wind event in the area since the October 2017 North Bay fires”.