Nearly 50,000 Los Angeles County residents could be without power at some point this week.
Southern California Edison warns that—due to the high fire risk forecast for the week—it might cut off power to roughly 49,024 customers in parts of Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Malibu, San Fernando, and Sylmar and adjacent canyons.
Customers in Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster and about three dozen unincorporated areas might also face power outages.
Edison considers the so-called “public safety power shutoffs” when there is the potential for elevated fire risk in certain areas.
The Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for most of LA and Ventura counties, and they’re expected to remain in effect until at least Friday afternoon. Gusts of up to 70 mph are possible Thursday night.
Strong, gusty winds can whip up embers and spread wildfires. “If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” the Weather Service warns.
If a shut-off is imminent, Edison aims to give customers notices 48 and 24 hours in advance of an outage. Those notices can come via emails, texts, or phone calls, depending on how customers have their account preferences set up, says spokesperson Mary Ann Milbourn.
So where are the #SantaAnaWinds expected later this week? Here is a snapshot of high-res model output of gusts (kt) valid at 10am Thu. The strongest winds are expected over LA and VTA counties. Expect gusts up to 55mph for coast/valleys and 70mph for mtns on Thu. #SoCal #CAwx pic.twitter.com/EfLMxlFJ1f— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 9, 2019
The Los Angeles Fire Department uses its own criteria to determine red flag days, and as of now, those criteria haven’t been met, says spokesperson Margaret Stewart. That means red flag parking restrictions are not in effect.
The city’s new plan to clear homeless encampments out of hillside areas with high fire danger on red flag days is also put into effect independently of the weather service’s red flag determinations.
In Northern California and the Bay Area, electrical utility PG&E has already begun to shut off power in stages to more than 800,000 customers across 34 counties in a drastic move to prevent the outbreak of fire.