SF’s State Of Emergency Continues: Power Systems Damaged, Water Quality Clear

While the Rim Fire in Tuolumne County continues to threaten water sources and electricity infrastructure for the City of San Francisco, city officials today said water quality remains good and all power shortfalls are being made up from other sources.

The 125,000 acre fire in the Stanislaus National Forest is burning to the west of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and has entered Yosemite National Park on its eastern edge, according to fire officials. The fire was only about 5 percent contained as of earlier today.

The O’Shaughnessy Dam and facilities remain undamaged and water quality in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which supplies water to 2.6 million water customers in San Francisco and the Bay Area, remains good, according to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials.

The city’s electrical infrastructure in the area has already been damaged and SFPUC officials have had to shut down some power transmission lines, according to state officials.

Repair crews attempted to survey power transmission lines and Kirkwood Powerhouse today but were unable to complete all their assignments, SFPUC officials said. They will return to the area tomorrow to make preliminary repairs and damage assessments.

Moccasin Powerhouse, one of three powerhouses operated by the city in the area, is still operating, according to the SFPUC.

Any power shortfalls are being made up through other resources or market purchases of electricity, and customers including San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco General Hospital, Muni and others will continue to be fully supplied, officials said.

San Francisco has spent around $600,000 on supplemental power purchases since Aug. 19 due to the fire, officials said.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the City and County San Francisco on Friday due to the effects of the Rim Fire on the city’s property and power and water infrastructure.

In addition, today he secured a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will reimburse around 75 percent state and local firefighting expenses, according to the California Emergency Management Agency.

More than 2600 firefighting personnel are working the Rim Fire, which threatened around 4,500 homes as of this morning, according to state fire officials. As of this morning, the Rim Fire was the 16th largest fire in California’s recorded history.

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