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PG&E gets help from West Coast Utilities in Wildfire Response

(AP Photo)

Utilities from across the U.S. west coast are deploying to fire-ravaged northern California, establishing base camps and doing restoration work in areas where eight people have been killed and more than 100,000 acres burned.

Pacific Gas & Electric announced Thursday it has established another operations base camp in Lakeport to support emergency responders in the Mendocino Complex blazes. It opened a camp in Redding three days earlier in support of crews fighting the Carr Fire in Shasta County.

A host of other utilities from up and down the coast have responded to PG&E’s call for mutual aid. They include more than 100 personnel helping restoration efforts in Redding and Lakeport.

Those includes include Avista Corp., Clark Public Utilities, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, all of whom deployed to Redding. Imperial Irrigation District, Snohomish County PUD, Tillamook People’s Utility District, Liberty Utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison moved into Lakeport for response and support.

Whatever the year and emergency, the utilities are open and quick to help each other.

“PG&E was proud to provide employees and equipment to support our utility partners in Florida and Puerto Rico after last year’s hurricanes,” Barry Anderson, PG&E vice president of Wildfire Resiliency and Emergency Management, said in a statement. “In turn, we are incredibly grateful for the mutual aid being provided by our sister utilities to help us deal with the new normal and the impacts of extreme weather events and wildfires, and to assist us with our repair and restoration efforts.”

The combined fires in the Mendocino and Carr conflagrations have raged despite the efforts of about 10,000 firefighters. As of Thursday evening, the blazes stretching across that region of the state have consumed more than 110,000 acres, more than 1,500 structures and the lives of at least four firefighters.

PG&E donated $250,000 toward fire response efforts earlier this week. The San Francisco-based utility recently reported a $1 billion loss from the impact of 2017 wildfires in its northern California service territory.