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Thanks PG&E! California is Consumed by Deadly Wildfires, Yet Again

"We didn't start the fire... LOL jk" - PG&E

Vallejo bridge on fire

Oh fall. The season of fluffy sweaters, crisp air, warm soup, and if, like me you’re in California, the whole state burns down to the ground around you. The dreaded “fire season” has been especially apocalyptic over the past three years, each end of summer/beginning of autumn bringing with it the terror of wondering which town will have to be evacuated next.

The bay area has been hit especially hard. Almost 200,000 people have been ordered to evacuate in the Vallejo/San Francisco area. Hurricane-force winds fanned a wildfire that began back on October 23rd. And all of this is in the midst of the enormous “planned” blackouts orchestrated by PG&E—leaving almost 3 million people without power.

The “Kincade fire” is just the latest in a series of apocalyptic-feeling fires that have destroyed large swaths of the state. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the land around the Getty Museum is burning once again. Firefighters were hoping the winds would decline this week to give them a chance to get the wildfires under control. While wildfires are a natural (and necessary), part of the ecological system of California’s geography, the decades-long drought has left the state extremely vulnerable. This is only exacerbated by global warming, with the average area being burned now five times larger than it was in the 1970s.

But who, aside from climate change, is to blame for all of the fire and destruction? In news that is shocking to exactly no one, it’s power conglomerate PG&E.

It was determined earlier this year that California’s worst wildfire—the Camp fire—was caused by sparks falling from a damaged overhead power cable. This, in part, is why PG&E has been cutting power to millions of California residents. They claim it is for necessary maintenance and fire prevention—a little too late my dudes! But, because they have been derelict in their duty of maintaining these lines, the company is now potentially liable for up to $30 billion in damages, quick someone get Erin Brockovitch on the line!

It must also be noted than an arsonist from Missouri, Freddie Owen Graham, has been apprehended and arrested for trying to start up to 15 different wildfires … by lighting scraps of paper on fire and throwing them out the window while he drove. Fortunately, this was easily spotted by several witnesses, and the police were waiting to arrest him at the airport when he attempted to fly back home. Thankfully the damage he caused chalked up to less than an acre.

So for those of you still looking for a scary monster to dress up as for Halloween, may I humbly suggest—the evil corporation that is PG&E! There are a lot of creative interpretations you could run with:

  • Soulless corporate vampire wearing a North Face jacket embroidered with the PG&E logo
  • An electrified super villain wielding sparking power cables as whips
  • A mashup of their corporate offices and Drew Barrymore’s character from Firestarter
  • Or, if you’re feeling lazy, just dress up as a power line pole with a frowny face.

Just remember that the real monster is the billion-dollar corporation that let its infrastructure, once again, crumble into dangerous disrepair, and if you’re in California (like me) pack a go bag for you, your loved ones, and your pet. And grab a pumpkin spice latte or something to treat yourself, because self-care is still important even if we are living in a fiery, apocalyptic hell space!

(Photo: California Department of Transportation)

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Brittany is a lifelong Californian (it's a big state, she can't find her way out!) who currently resides in sunny Los Angeles with her gigantic, vaguely cat-shaped companion Gus. If you stumble upon her she might begin proselytizing about Survivor, but give her an iced coffee and she will calm down.