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California has seen a relatively slow start to this year’s wildfire season, but Wanda Chaney still frets every time it’s hot and windy in Chico, a college town about two hours north of Sacramento. She’s far less worried about an actual wildfire than the power company shutting off her electricity to prevent one.
Chaney, 70, uses an oxygen machine at her apartment to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung disorder that makes it difficult to breathe.
“I can’t afford a generator,” Chaney said. “I’d probably end up going to the hospital if my electricity was cut off. There are people here on breathing machines; we got people who’ve got all kinds