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City of Chico considering curfew in case of a power outage

City leaders say they can't control possible blackouts, but they can have a backup plan to keep people safe.

Posted: Aug 5, 2019 3:32 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2019 6:42 PM

CHICO, Calif. - "I've seen what an entire valley looks like when the power's off. You can't see your hand in front of your face," said Chico Mayor Randall Stone.

With PG&E threatening city-wide power outages during times of high fire danger that could last for days, Chico Mayor Randall Stone says, he knew the city had to do something to keep people safe.

"We as a municipality can't afford not to make some plans to ensure the safety of our residents," Stone said.

Chico's Police Chief suggested a curfew from dusk to dawn during a days-long blackout.

But some people say this would make an already frustrating situation even harder to cope with.

"I think it's outrageous because in a situation like that sometimes people would want to come downtown to feel safe and have camaraderie,” one woman from Chico said.

"No air conditioning, extreme heat? I'd like to get out of the house!" said Lola James, who lives and works in Chico.

A curfew could also add to the economic burden imposed by a blackout.

The curfew would also mean that whether or not a business has a generator, a lot them would have to shut down after dark.

"They shouldn't have to shut their business down due to somebody in a blue suit telling them how to run their business, it's not fair to them or to us," a Chico woman said. "We have rights, this is a society and we cannot keep letting corporations tell us what we can and cannot do."

The mayor says it's not that simple.

"Because of the nature of extreme fire danger, we could see extended absences of power. That's a PG&E decision, not a City of Chico decision and we just have to roll with that," Stone said.

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The threat of thunderstorms is driving high fire danger across northern California today and most of our region will be under a Red Flag Warning this afternoon and evening. Very hot and dry weather is on the way in your extended forecast, with dangerous heat projected to return this weekend.
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