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PG&E Wildfire Emergency Plan Could Keep Manteca Residents in the Dark

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MANTECA -- An emergency plan is in the works in Manteca after Pacific Gas and Electric says they will cut off electricity to the city for up to five days if weather conditions become hazardous during wildfire season.

"We'll look for extreme fire weather conditions and potentially shut the power off for safety," said PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo.

PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff program was planned with the goal of never seeing a repeat of the deadly Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and burned 14,000 homes.

The utility hopes to be able to inform customers 24 to 48 hours before power shutoffs.

"But there could be as little as an hour notice," Merlo told FOX40.

She said residents need to be prepared and have backup plans in place, such as using generators and solar chargers along with having an adequate supply of food and water before any potential shutoff.

Manteca Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd told city council Tuesday that PG&E advised transmission lines will be de-energized when high winds and other conditions could contribute to starting a wildfire.

"There could be a fire weather hazard in the foothills that would necessitate then shutting down all the power to the city of Manteca," Shipherd told city council.

The chief said they're putting together an action plan to include establishing more charging stations at the city's four fire stations for Manteca residents, who rely on powered medical equipment to stay alive.

"Medical devices, oxygen and those sorts of things that are medically necessary to have power for," he said.

High fire threat areas, including the Sierra in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, will more likely be impacted.

"All cities up and down, throughout Northern California could have this potential," Shipherd said.

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