US firm Pacific Gas & Electric cut off power to almost one million homes in California last week, with the company saying the intentional blackout was to reduce the risk of exacerbating the wildfires spreading across the southwestern state. Fires are raging in California as gusty winds fuelled the blazes over the weekend. The fire began at Sylmar, near Los Angeles, on Thursday October 10 and continues to blaze.
Dozens of homes have been destroyed and thousands of people were under evacuation orders due to the blaze.
At least three people have died because of the fire.
One expert has warned that Californians should expert power outages and wildfires when the Golden State is eventually hit by the inevitable Big One.
Experts have for some time been warning of the Big One – a huge earthquake measuring at least a magnitude 7.9, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), as centuries’ worth of tension building along the fault lines beneath California.
Seismologist Lucy Jones has said following the Big One, California will be ravaged by aftershocks, power outages, wildfires and disruptions to the water supply.
Dr Jones wrote on Twitter: “Parts of SoCal [southern California] have power outages and wildfires.
“Imagine all of SoCal without power and with fires, disrupt the water supply, add aftershocks and you’re starting to imagine what comes after the big San Andreas earthquake.”
A major San Andreas earthquake is long overdue, with a recent research paper finding that eventually a massive tremor will come.
“Our paper confirms that this hiatus is very improbable and it’s our view that our efforts will be better spent considering explanations for this, rather than trying to bend the data to make the hiatus a ‘statistically improbable but could happen’ kind of thing.
“We’re saying, no, it’s not a data problem, it’s not a data choice problem, it doesn’t matter how you slice this.
“We just have not had earthquakes that past records predict that we should have had.”