Wildfires and blackouts continue to plague California. Among the most serious of these blazes is the Getty Fire, which broke out close to the famed museum and has forced the evacuation of thousands.

The Getty fire broke out shortly after 1:30 a.m. along the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center and spread to the south and west, rapidly burning more than 600 acres and sending people fleeing from their homes in the dark. About 10,000 structures have been placed under mandatory evacuation orders.

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said that, despite firefighters’ efforts, at least eight homes, including some on Tigertail Road, had been destroyed in the blaze. Five others were damaged. Some homes that were destroyed were adjacent to properties that didn’t sustain any damage, he said.

“They were literally overwhelmed,” Terrazas said of crews fighting the fire within neighborhoods. “They had to make some tough decisions on which houses they were able to protect. Many times, it depends upon where the ember lands.”

Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has started shutting off power to thousands of residents in Marin County, north of San Francisco, even before expected restorations of power from a previous shut-off had been completed.

Virtually all customers of the wealthier suburb on the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge lost power 26 October as part of planned blackouts by PG&E to prevent the fires. The county has about 260,000 people, and some have been without power since Saturday afternoon.

PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said the new round of shut-offs started around 8am Tuesday, earlier than estimated because of weather and “impacts on our transmission system” from a fire in wine country.

The PG&E power shut-offs Tuesday are the third in a week and the fourth in one month.

PG&E stock is sinking rapidly. But, no worries! California Governor Gavin Newsom has a solution.

…Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged billionaire investor Warren Buffett to buy the troubled utility, which has been linked to the 60,000-plus-acre fire burning in Sonoma County. The fire originated near a company transmission tower that experienced a malfunction.

Newsom wants Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate to make a bid for PG&E, but Buffett has so far been silent about the proposal.

PG&E Corp. was recently stripped of its right to exclusively pitch a reorganization plan in bankruptcy court, which has led to complications.

Holders of its stock control it now. Holders of its bond debt seek to take control.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. hadn’t responded as of Sunday, but there is a relationship.

Berkshire owns:

  • PacifiCorp, the largest grid owner and operator in the West. Gov. Jerry Brown had pushed to create a Western regional grid tying California to several states, but that stalled.
  • Pacific Power, which serves customers in Oregon, Washington and far Northern California.
  • Kern River Gas Transmission Company, which has a pipeline connecting Rocky Mountain natural gas-producing basins and Western markets.

Berkshire’s holdings also include coal. Though Berkshire says it intends to “retire” its coal plants by 2038, California law all but prohibits the importation of coal-powered electricity.

Newsom is at least proposing a tried-and-true fix: Capitalism solving socialism’s many problems.


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