“We were inconvenienced but life wasn’t interrupted,” Ms. Warhaftig said. “But so many people’s lives were.”
Pacific Gas & Electric restored power to large sections of Northern California on Friday, including Paradise, where the electricity came back on in the afternoon. But hundreds of thousands of people in other areas remained in the dark. The carcasses of burned cars still littered the landscape around Paradise, where 86 people died in the Camp Fire last year, some of them while trying to escape.
Officials at power company said that by Saturday they hoped to have restored power to 98 percent of the customers who were affected.
The same dangerous winds that spurred the shut-off in Northern California have put firefighters to work in the south. The authorities in Los Angeles County ordered the evacuation of nearly 100,000 people on Friday as the Saddleridge Fire burned nearly 5,000 acres and destroyed 25 structures. The Sandalwood Fire, which ignited Thursday in Riverside County, had spread to more than 800 acres and destroyed 74 structures by Friday afternoon.
While this week’s outage was the first time many customers in Northern California experienced a deliberate power shut-off, residents in and around Paradise have had their power cut four times in recent months, residents say.
Many use a generator, but running one has become increasingly expensive with gasoline now at more than $4 a gallon in California.
On Friday, Dennis and Viola Timmer drove up the hill to their home in Magalia, a town adjacent to Paradise, loaded with $102 dollars of gasoline for their generators. It was their second gasoline run since the power went out Tuesday night.