When strong autumn winds roared into Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. decided it was going to take an extreme action to prevent a repeat of last year’s firestorms that destroyed thousands of homes in Santa Rosa.
On Oct. 14, the company cautiously shut off power to some 60,000 Sierra foothills and North Bay customers, hoping to prevent any downed power lines from sparking a fire. On Nov. 6, PG&E again began warning 70,000 customers — including those in the town of Paradise — that it might flip the switch in the face of fire danger.
But for reasons that remain unclear, the utility decided not to shut off power that day.
Fierce winds picked up in the Sierra foothills that morning, fueling the most destructive fire in California history, which has burned nearly 10,000 homes, killed at least 71 people and left more than 1,000 unaccounted for.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.