Parts of Southern California might face public safety power shut-offs in high-risk fire areas ahead of the strongest Santa Ana winds of the season.
About 62,500 SoCal Edison customers were without power early Wednesday as the region prepared for gusts that could cause wildfires to spread rapidly if sparked by downed power lines. That figure included 17,800 customers in Los Angeles County.
Strong wind gusts are expected through Thursday during one of the region's most dangerous times of the year for wildfires. All of Southern California will be under a red flag warning through Thursday evening.
"These will be the gustiest winds we've seen maybe in the last decade," said NBC4 forecaster Shanna Mendiola.
More than 304,00 SoCal Edison customers are in areas where power might bo interrupted. That figure is likely to change, so click here for updates from the utility company.
Note: The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power does not use proactive power shut-offs. The areas below are in the SoCal Edison service area.
Where Power Shutoffs Are Possible
Kern County (22,330 customers)
- Unincorporated areas including Antelope Valley, Bear Valley Springs, Bodfish, Caliente Creek, Cameron, Cyrus Flats, Kerneville, Lake Isabella, Sand Canyon, Grapevine, Havilah, Hot Spring Valley, Indian Creek, Kern County, Kern County, Loraine, Mebane Ranch, Millersville, Miracle Hot Springs, Monolith, Mountain Mesa, Onyx, South Lake, Squirrel Mountain Valley, Stallion Springs, Tejon Ranch, near Tehachapi along Willow Springs Road, between Walker Basin and Loco Bill Canyon, Twin Oaks, Wheeler Ridge, Wofford Heights, Hog Canyon, Weldon, Walker Basin
Los Angeles County (86,305 customers)
- Agoura Hills, Calabasas, La Canada-Flintridge, Lancaster, La Crescenta, Los Angeles, Malibu, Palmdale, San Fernando, Santa Clarita
- Unincorporated areas including Altadena, Acton, Agua Dulce, along Sierra Highway, Alpine, Antelope Valley, Andrade Corner, Cantillas, Antelope Valley, Del Sur, East and South of Elizabeth Lake, El Merrie Dell, Fairmont, Hauser Canyon, Gorman, Green Valley, Indian Springs, Jackson Lake, Kagel, La Crescenta-Montrose, Lake Canyon, Lake Hughes, Leona Valley, Los Angeles Forest Park, May Canyon Trail, Michael D. Antonovich Open Space Preserve, Mint Canyon, Mount Disappointment, Mount Wilson, along the Old Road, Pacoima Dam Area, Placerita Canyon, Plum Canyon near Santa Clarita, East of Santa Clarita, San Francisquito Canyon, South of Stevenson Ranch, Three Points City, West Hills, Boiling Point, Canyon Country, Castaic Junction, Caswell, Del Valle, east of Santa Clarita, Desert View Highlands, El Nido, Gorman, Green Valley, Harold, Hauser Canyon, Indian Springs, Lake Canyon, Lake Hughes, Lakeview, Lakeview Terrace, Leona Valley, Letteau Canyon, Lincoln Crest, Ninetynine Oaks, Sandberg, Santa Susanna, Santa Susanna Knolls, Singing Springs, West of Lakeview, White Heather
- Maclay Avenue and Seventh Street
- Maclay Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard
- Glenoaks Boulevard and Brand Boulevard
- Glenoaks Boulevard and Griswold Street
- Glenoaks Boulevard and Arroyo Street
- Brand Boulevard and Pico Street
- Brand Boulevard and Kewen Street
- Brand Boulevard and Mott Street
- Celis Street and Chasworth Drive
- Celis Street and San Fernando Mission Boulevard
Orange County (7,071 customers)
- Irvine, Lake Forest
- Unincorporated areas including Bee Canyon, East of Siphon Reservoir, Irvine Regional Park, Orange Park Estates, Modjeska, Portola Hills and Silverado
Riverside County (33.816 customers)
- Banning, Beaumont, Murrieta, San Jacinto, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs
- Unincorporated areas including along Hwy 79 Lambs Canyon Road, Banning, northeast of Banning, areas in areas of Banning Pass including Cabazon, northwest of Cabazon, Cherry Valley, County Lake Mobile Community, Gilman Hot Springs, Lakeview Hot Springs, Lakeview, Mas Canyon, North Palm Springs, OWL, Ramona Expy and the San Jacinto River, River Park, Soboba Hot Springs, Soboba Reservation, North Palm Springs, Cabazon, Whitewater and Whitewater Canyon, east of Banning, Big Oaks Canyon, north of Cabazon, Rancho
San Bernardino County (63,271 customers)
- Hesperia, Highland, San Berndardino, Calimesa, Crestline, Fontana, Rialto
- Unincorporated areas including along Alessandro, Arrowhead Equestrian Estates, Arrowhead, Cajon, Carey, Cedar Pines Park, Crestline, Del Rosa, Devore, Devore Heights, Hudson, Kendall, Las Plazas, Leona Valley, Lincoln Crest, areas of Morongo Valley, Mentone, Mount Vernon, Muscoy, Nena, North Park, Oak Glen, Phelan, Ridgeline Drive, Roosevelt, Shandin Hills, Southern Morongo Valley, Sterling, University, Valley of Enchantment, Verdemont, Wildwood Park, Antelope Valley, Arrastre Flats, Arrowhead Water Agency, Big Oaks Canyon, Crestline Lake, Devils Canyon, Doble, Furnace Canyon, Glen Helen Regional Park, Lake Gregory, Lucerne Valley, Lugo, Lytle Creek, Miller Canyon, Oak Hills, Rosena, Serrano Village, Snow Peak, Strawberry Flat, Summit Terrace, Upper Holcomb Valley, Valley View Park
Ventura County (78,487 customers)
- Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Oaji, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Ventura, Thousand Oaks
- Unincorporated areas including Bard Reservoir, Bardsdale, Bell Canyon, Buckhorn, Burro Flats, Camarillo, Camulos, Cavin, South of Cavin, El Rio, East of Kevet, Fagan Caynon, Foster Park, Keith Oak Village, Limoneira, North of Mountclef Village, Ortonville, Piru, Rustic Canyon Golf Course, Santa Susana, Saticoy, Santa Susana Mountains, Santa Susana south of HWY 118, Sespe Village, Solromar, Somis, North of Strathern, Sycamore Cove, along Yerba Buena Road, North of HWY 126, Santa Rosa, Santa Susana Knolls, Solromar, north of Somis and Lagol, Wadstrom, Weldons
Why Shut Off Power?
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Most of the deadly California fires over the past several decades, including the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in Northern California, have been the result of power lines in high-wind situations.
Add in Southern California's infamous Santa Ana winds, and you have extremely volatile conditions. The winds can fan flames sparked by downed power lines.
Where Are the Possible Outage Areas?
For a detailed listing of all areas affected and maps to check if you may face a proactive shut-off, visit SCE's Public Safety Power Shutoff page.
How Proactive Power Outages Work
Meteorologists and other SoCal Edison staff members use high-resolution weather data maps and other tools to monitor extreme fire weather. SoCal Edison also uses weather stations, historical data and fire monitoring cameras to determine fire potential.
If conditions warrant, the utility will shut off power in high-risk areas. Customers can receive notifications about outages in their area through emails, text or phone calls. The utility will alert first responders, local governments and customers of power shut-off.
Here are some of the factors the utility considers before declaring an outage.
- High winds, including red flag warnings
- Low humidity
- Dry vegetation that provide fire fuel
- On-the-ground observations
- Fire threat to electric infrastructure
- Public safety risk
An initial notification is sent out about two days before a possible shut-off to warn customers. A second notification will be sent a day before, then notifications are sent when power is shut off and when it's restored. Restoration is based on when weather conditions are deemed safe.
Customers can view this map to see whether they're in a high-risk area.
Why Are Santa Ana Winds So Dangerous?
The fire-whipping winds are produced by surface high pressure over the Great Basin squeezing air down through canyons and passes in Southern California's mountain ranges. They're common in the fall and have a long history of fanning destructive wildfires in the region.
Fall is historically the worst time of the year for damaging wildfires in California. Seven of the state's 10-most destructive wildfires have occurred in October and November.
So far this year, Southern California has not seen the large fires that devastated parts of the state last year, largely due to above-average soil moisture and an active monsoon season that followed a winter of steady rain.
Through September, CALFIRE reported 4,460 wildfires that burned about 40,400 acres. Last year at that time, the agency reported 4,800 fires that burned a staggering 627,600 acres.
California's five-year average for that time period is 324,600 acres.