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High temperatures and dangerous fire conditions may lead to power outages in Calaveras County beginning on Sunday.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has issued a Flex Alert, a call for Californians to voluntarily conserve energy, for Sunday and Monday.

“There is currently not a sufficient supply of energy to meet the high amounts of demand during the heatwave,” a CAISO press release issued Sunday reads. “Based on the current forecast and without significant conservation efforts, rotating power outages are likely throughout the state today between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.”

To avoid the outages, the CAISO is requesting that consumers conserve energy Sunday and Monday, especially between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., when demand on the energy grid is highest.

“The (CAISO) declared a Stage 2 Emergency on Saturday when wildfires took out 1,600 megawatts (MW) of resources in Southern California,” the press release reads. “It is uncertain when that lost energy will return service, and likely will lower supplies available on Sunday, making conditions on Sunday more challenging and outages more likely.”

In addition, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) may cut power to 103,000 customers in 17 counties beginning Monday evening due to dangerous fire conditions.

“PG&E continues to monitor a potentially widespread, strong and dry offshore wind event forecasted to start Monday evening and continue through mid-day Wednesday,” a press release from the utility company issued on Saturday reads. “Given the expected conditions, PG&E began its 48-hour advance notifications to customers in areas where PG&E may need to proactively turn power off for safety and reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines.”

Those affected include residents of the Sierra foothills, North Bay and East Bay in Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Sonoma, Tehama, Tuolumne and Yuba counties.

For Calaveras County, PG&E’s website shows an estimated potential shutoff start time of 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday night, with an estimated potential restoration time of 7 p.m. on Wednesday. An estimated 11,661 customers in the county may be impacted.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Fire Weather Watch for the area due to potentially critical fire weather conditions from late Monday evening until Wednesday morning.

“After an extended period of hot and dry weather, gusty northerly and easterly winds will be possible early this week,” a statement from NWS reads. “Poor overnight humidity recovery is expected during this time frame as well, with daytime humidities falling into the single digits and teens. These conditions may impact any ongoing wildfires. Extreme caution should be taken to prevent any additional fires.”

The Creek Fire, which began on the evening of Sept. 4 northeast of Shaver Lake near Camp Sierra and Reddin roads in the Sierra National Forest, has quickly exploded to 36,000 acres in size and has impacted air quality in Calaveras County.

“Smoke and ash from the (Creek Fire) burning on the Sierra National Forest in Fresno and Madera Counties continue to impact our area,” a statement issued Sunday by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit reads. “We are receiving a lot of phone call inquiries on our 911 lines from concerned citizens. We would like to remind everyone not to call 911 unless you have an actual emergency or you can actually see flames. We can appreciate the concerns, but informational phone calls tie up the 911 system and prevent actual emergencies from being reported. There are currently no active fires in the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit.”

For more information on Flex Alerts, click here.

To view the map of potential Public Safety Power Shutoff outages, click here.

To view the PG&E press release in full, click here.

For information on local Community Resource Centers, click here.

For the NWS Fire Weather Watch alert, click here.

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Reporter

Noah Berner has lived in Calaveras County most of his life, and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in history.

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