SACRAMENTO, Calif — California utilities will continue to shut off electricity during dangerous fire conditions to prevent sparking deadly wildfires.

Plans submitted Friday with state regulators say outages will continue to be deployed as utilities expand other efforts to prevent their equipment from starting fires.

Pacific Gas and Electric, California's largest utility, said it would work to make the blackouts smaller in size and shorter in duration.

Utilities say they will continue trimming vegetation, fortifying power lines to make them less likely to throw sparks and apply technology to proactively find problems before they cause a fire.

Michael Lewis, PG&E's senior vice president of electric operations, said the plans released Friday detail the utility's efforts to improve public safety and reduce wildfire risks across its massive coverage area.

"Our state is faced with an extended and more dangerous wildfire season that demands additional urgent action and coordination across many stakeholder groups to reduce the risk of wildfire," Lewis said in a statement.

The state began requiring the wildfire mitigation plans after catastrophic fires sparked by PG&E's equipment in 2018 killed more than 85 people and destroyed about 20,000 homes.

The utility is currently serving time on probation for six federal felonies following the 2010 San Bruno gas line explosion, which killed eight people. The company in 2019 filed for bankruptcy with anticipation of having to settle lawsuits stemming from massive, deadly and destructive wildfires started by their equipment. 

Click here for the full story from the Associated Press.



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