PG&E shuts off power for 24,000 homes as weather worsens wildfire risk

Wildfire worries have prompted Pacific Gas & Electric to pre-emptively cut power to more than 24,000 residents in northern California, a smaller number than the company originally feared.

The beleaguered utility provider said it halted electrical service for the counties of Butte, Nevada and Yuba because of dry, windy weather that poses an increased risk.

Originally, PG&E had estimated that more than 100,000 residents might be affected by the blackouts.

The shutoff comes after live PG&E power lines snapped last year, sparking the deadliest and most expensive wildfire in Califonia's history. The Camp Fire claimed 86 lives and burned more than 150,000 acres.

PG&E, which has since filed for bankruptcy protection, reached an $11 billion settlement earlier this month in insurance claims related to the blaze as well as wildfires the year before.,

Once the current spate of dangerous weather subsides, PG&E will inspect power lines in the affected area to ensure safe conditions. It hopes to restore power within one to two days.

The area most affected by the blackouts is Butte County, where 10,245 residents are without electricity.