FRESNO, California (KGPE) – It is day two of no power for those who live in the mountain communities.
Over 20,000 customers in parts of Madera, Fresno and Mariposa Counties are still in the dark as PG&E continues ‘safety shutoffs’ because of high-wind.
Many in Oakhurst and surrounding areas did not have to go to work or school because of the power shutoff.
The majority of the places were closed. The Valero’s was the only gas station opened. Earlier in the day, they ran out of ‘regular’ gas, but they have some now. There’s also the Shell gas station in Coarsegold that is open.
People we spoke with say their main concerns are having gas, cash, and water. It was a busy day in Oakhurst. Not because it’s Monday, but because there’s no power.
“This past summer we had a little outage but this is, this is kind of unusual,” says Joe Wilson, an Oakhurst resident.
Several parts of the mountain communities are still in the dark after PG&E activated its Public Safety Power Shutoff program on Sunday afternoon.
They say it’s all to help reduce the chance of any sparks igniting during high-wind weather.
“I understand they have to do things for safety reasons but it’s a little chaotic,” says Dawn White, a Coarsegold resident.
Chaotic is right. There were long lines at the only opened gas station in Oakhurst. White, along with many others were filling up their gas tanks and gas cans. She could not go to work because there was no power, so she’s just tried to get through it.
“I basically stocked up on water, candles, beef jerky, granola, canned tuna, you know whatever you need,” she explained. However, those looking to buy perishable items are frustrated. “You can’t buy meats, you can’t buy milk, you can’t buy any everyday necessities, basically,” says Edgar Cachu, an Oakhurst resident.
The power is out at a number of restaurants, coffee shops, banks and more. The only two grocery stores opened were Vons and Raley’s, thanks to backups generators. Video inside Raley’s shows the limited power they have, right now they’re only taking cash.
While there are no perishables available, the store is stocked up on water, dry foods and produce. The pharmacy is also opened. The store says they’re here to help.
“I’m very grateful for these grocery stores, these grocery stores are always open for the community,” Cachu expressed.
Some are worried because they use wells for water. A few even picking up bottles of water to brush their teeth.
The Madera County Sheriff’s substation is open until 8 p.m. for those looking to charge their electronic devices.
The sheriff’s office says they doubled the staff and are doing welfare checks on those in more rural areas. Deputies say that even though there may not be high winds right now, there’s a potential for falling trees.
They already had two incidents, but say no one was hurt. Another thing, several of the traffic lights are out from Highway 41 and Road 200, up to Oakhurst and beyond.
Deputies say to treat all intersections as a stop sign and in some areas, a four-way stop. If the power is still down and you need cash, the ATM at Valero is open.