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Stirling City residents talk about concerns with possible PG&E blackouts

It's an area with limited cell phone service, and now, people in the small community of Stirling City say they are concerned about the possible PG&E blackouts and getting life-saving information if a fire happened there.

Posted: Oct 22, 2019 10:34 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2019 10:45 PM

STIRLING CITY -- It's an area with limited cell phone service, and now, people in the small community of Stirling City say they are concerned about the possible PG&E blackouts and getting life-saving information if a fire happened there.

"Watching the videos of people that's say evacuated, it's changed things," said Cheryl Hawkins, a woman who lives in Stirling City.

Hawkins says she's seen fires come close to her Stirling City. home, but nothing quite like what she saw last November. The extent of the evacuations, the destruction, all of that, Hawkins said, has stayed with her ever since.

"It changed the fear factor, yeah, kind of," Hawkins said.

As she continues to battle remaining stress from the Camp Fire, she faces a brand new challenge this year, the PG&E blackouts.

"When the power goes out, we lose our satellite, we lose our wifi capability, there's no cell phone coverage," Hawkins said.

Hawkins said they cannot do touch-by-dial phone calls on the rotary and without touch-tone, they cannot navigate automated systems.

Neighbor Rona O'Neil shares Hawkins' concerns about fire safety. Smoke was visible from a control burn several miles away Tuesday.

"I thought it was very insensitive, I thought, are they nuts? People haven't even gotten over the fires," O'Neil said. 

The forest service told Action News Now, with dry weather conditions approaching, the area could be more of a threat if not taken care of.

"To have control burns going while they're going to turn the power off because of high winds? That's really scary, it's traumatizing, it's hard to move forward," O'Neil said. 

PG&E told Action News Now they offered information to telecommunication providers on how to help their customers in a blackout, but the utility would not elaborate or clarify.

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