October was insane.

In Northern California, the month was marked by desiccating offshore winds that fueled wildfires and prompted deliberate power outages, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes and putting millions of others in the dark for days on end.

More than a dozen fires started in the greater Bay Area alone. The biggest, the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, raged across a tinder-dry landscape, blackening an area more than twice the size of San Francisco. To prevent wind-damaged equipment from sparking wildfires, Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally shut off power three separate times. Some people lived without power for nearly a week between the last two wind events.

Many factors played into the chaos: a changing climate, a growing population near the state’s open lands, a utility company with outdated equipment and a parched landscape that hasn’t recovered from a five-year drought.

Continuing reading @ SF Gate