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(San Mateo, CA) -- Devices designed to prevent power blackouts might be linked to the Northern California wildfires. While investigators haven't drawn any conclusions about the cause of the massive blazes, State Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo wants automatic circuit breakers, called reclosers, examined. Reclosers attempt to restart power lines when service is interrupted by sending pulses of electricity, which can throw sparks in trees or grass if lines are knocked down.
San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison both routinely shut off the devices during wildfire season, but PG&E is only testing doing that, and many reclosers were still operating in the North Bay fire zones.