Fearing wildfire, PG&E cuts power across Northern California

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Northern California’s biggest utility has shut power to tens of thousands of customers, an unprecedented step to prevent wildfires amid rising winds and official warnings of extreme fire danger.

Pacific Gas & Electric began turning off the lights in California’s wine country and nearby counties Sunday evening and schools canceled Monday classes throughout the district.

PG&E announced earlier this year its plan to shut power preemptively after authorities blamed its power lines for sparking some of the state’s most destructive wildfires. The utility is on the hook for billions of dollars of damages and has sought to limit its wildfire liability in the courts and the Legislature.

The National Weather Service forecast winds gusting to 45 mph throughout the parched north state covered with drought-dried vegetation.