California declares state of emergency over massive wildfires

Updated: Oct 27, 2019, 09:44 IST | Agencies | Los Angeles

California utility companies are under increasing scrutiny by regulatory authorities since sparks from aging or over taxed utility equipment have been blamed for some of the state''s most disastrous wildfires in recent history

Flames at a vineyard near Geyserville. Pic/AFP
Flames at a vineyard near Geyserville. Pic/AFP

Los Angeles: As fire-fighters continued to contain massive wildfires across California, the state's Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for the badly affected Sonoma and Los Angeles counties.

"Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an emergency proclamation for the counties of Sonoma and Los Angeles due to the effects of the Kincade and Tick fires, which have destroyed structures, threatened homes and critical infrastructure, and caused the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents," read the report.

Newsom visited Sonoma County on Friday afternoon to survey areas impacted by the Kincade fire, which grew to 21,900 acres with 5 per cent containment and met emergency responders, residents, health officers and local and state officials.During his trip, Newsom slammed the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a publicly-traded, investor-owned utility that serves two-thirds of northern California, saying the company must take responsibility for the wildfires that the local residents have been suffering for years.

California utility companies are under increasing scrutiny by regulatory authorities since sparks from aging or over taxed utility equipment have been blamed for some of the state''s most disastrous wildfires in recent history.

What's the cause?

To date, six of the most devastating blazes in California's history were triggered by electrical equipment malfunction, including the brutal fire in 2018 that wiped out the town of Paradise.

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