SoCal Edison turns off power to 5,000 customers on Thanksgiving as Santa Ana winds raise fire risk

Faced with Santa Ana winds threatening to ignite wildfires, Southern California Edison on Thanksgiving Day turned power off to about 5,000 customers and considered shutoffs for tens of thousands more in the region.

The utility on Thursday was weighing cutting power to more than 106,000 of its customers in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, Riverside and Ventura counties.

As of 6 p.m., 5,142 customers — 2,127 customers in Los Angeles County and 3,015 in Ventura County — were without service, according to the utility.

Edison typically performs shut offs to avoid having its electric system ignite fires when the region sees elevated fire danger. Residents can enter their address on SoCal Edison’s website to check if their neighborhood is being considered for a “public safety power shutoff.”

“We understand these PSPS actions are disruptive to our customers—especially during the Thanksgiving holiday—and we are making every effort to reduce the impact,” Edison said in a statement.

Red flag warnings are in effect for Los Angeles and Ventura counties from 2 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Saturday.

Santa Ana wind for later this week – Thanksgiving Day through late Friday evening. Strong NE wind gusts across much of LA/VTA Counties and low humidity. This is a cold #SantaAna so highs will be in the 60’s to low 70’s. #CAwx #SOCal #LAwind pic.twitter.com/BayKEsElFJ— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) November 24, 2020

Wind gusts up to 50 to 65 mph are forecast in the mountain regions and 40 to 55 mph in the coastal and valley areas, paired with very low humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

This Santa Ana wind event is expected to be a cold one, with highs in the 60s to low 70s.

Residents can expect to see toppled trees and power lines as the powerful winds sweep through the region, forecasters said.

In the Angeles National Forest, the fire department increased its staffing and additional firefighting resources moved into the area to brace for any potential fires.

Earlier this year, tree branches hitting SoCal Edison equipment in the forest near Cogswell Dam possibly sparked the Bobcat Fire, a wind-driven blaze that ripped through more than 115,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes.

Red Flag Warnings are in effect for quite a bit of LA and Ventura Counties from 2 pm Thu to 6 pm Fri. Wind gusts up to 50-65 mph mountains and 40-55 mph coasts and valleys. And very low relative humidity. #Cawx #CAFire pic.twitter.com/pLIoqvkK0y— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) November 25, 2020

The Fire Weather Watch for most of LA and Ventura Counties has been upgraded to a Red Flag Warning effective Thu afternoon and most of Friday. Be careful with anything that could start a fire and remember Ready! Set! Go! #cawx #CAfire #SoCal pic.twitter.com/Ke4ZEDF0Tk— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) November 25, 2020

Dangerous Fire Weather Conditions expected Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday over much of #LosAngeles and #Ventura Counties. Fire Weather Watches are in effect. Have a safe holiday and be extra careful with anything that could start a fire. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/Hk6AKa7De7— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) November 25, 2020

Get notified about Public Safety Power Shutoff events. Sign up for alerts here: https://t.co/wo6v2jR8dx pic.twitter.com/eTSDxTgFLI— SCE (@SCE) November 26, 2020

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