As California burns, the winds arrive and the lights go out

SHAVER LAKE, Calif. (AP) – California’s largest utility shut off power to 172,000 customers to guard against its power lines and other equipment sparking wildfires.

High winds are forecast for the next two days, and fire danger is high throughout wildfire-ravaged California. Pacific Gas & Electric said the outages started at 9 p.m.

Monday and affect 22 counties in Central and Northern California.

The utility hopes to return power by Wednesday night.

The move came at the end of a scorching Labor Day weekend that saw several major wildfires break out in different areas of California. Earlier Monday, the U.S. Forest Service closed national forests in the southern half of California and added restrictions at others because of dangerous fire conditions.

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