Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Utility company Pacific Gas and Electric Co. began shutting off power to about 150,000 customers in Northern California on Wednesday amid forecasts of high winds that could spark wildfires in the region.
PG&E said it's cutting power to 18 counties, including Sonoma, Napa and Nevada, to avoid the possibility of the winds causing power lines to spark a wildfire.
The company announced the planned blackouts Tuesday evening during a news conference.
"We will continue to monitor the weather overnight, continue to monitor the weather forecast model data as it arrives, look at where the precipitation is building and where it may be developing and look for areas that the weather is trending favorably for a further reduction of scope," PG&E's chief meteorologist, Scott Strenfel, said.
The company said the power outages could last longer than 48 hours and asked customers to prepare for being without power for "several days."
Shutoffs began around 7 a.m. in Yolo and Solano counties. The company delayed shutoffs in Nevada, El Dorado, Placer, Amador and Sierra counties pending weather conditions.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection blamed electrical transmission lines owned by PG&E for the Camp Fire in 2018. The blaze was the most destructive and deadliest in California's history, killing 85 people.
PG&E has carried out numerous blackouts this fall to millions of customers in response to unfavorable weather conditions. CEO Bill Johnson warned in October that the state could see regular outages over the next decade, though nothing as frequent or widespread as what has taken place this fall.