Friday, March 23, 2018 - 13:30

(TNS) — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plans to unveil a sweeping set of steps to prevent wildfires or contain them when they erupt.

The utility, whose equipment is being investigated as a potential cause of the Wine Country fires last fall, will create a wildfire prediction and response center in San Francisco that will operate around the clock during fire season. The company will greatly expand its own network of weather stations to monitor conditions, adding hundreds more this year.

PG&E will contract with out-of-state firefighters, keeping them on retainer for emergencies. And it will harden its electrical grid to better endure windstorms, replacing wooden poles with sturdier steel ones over time.

“Our system and our mind-set need to be laser-focused on working together to help prevent devastating wildfires like the ones in the North Bay in October and Southern California in December from happening again, and in responding quickly and effectively if they do,” said Pat Hogan, senior vice president of electric operations for PG&E.

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