Southern California Edison alerted thousands of customers on Saturday, Oct. 22, of possible public safety power shutoffs later in the weekend to prevent wildfires.
— Ready Los Angeles County (@ReadyLACounty) October 22, 2022
Weather conditions in high fire-risk areas of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties may require the utility to shut off power for some residents between 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and noon Monday, Oct. 24, said Southern California Edison spokesperson Ben Gallagher.
A total of about 24,000 customers are under consideration for the power shutoffs across those counties: More than 10,000 apiece in LA and San Bernardino counties and nearly 2,900 in Orange County. Other counties under consideration for shutoffs are Inyo, Kern, Mono, Tuolumne and Ventura.
Customers can put their address into an interactive map to check if their residence is impacted, Gallagher added.
San Bernardino County is expected to receive high gusts of Santa Ana winds starting Saturday evening, said NWS meteorologist Brian Adams. The gusts could reach speeds between 50-60 mph and will be strongest in the southwest parts of the county near the Cajon Pass, he added.
Although highs in San Bernardino County are expected to remain in the 70-degree range over the weekend, Adams said the fire risk is exacerbated due to a combination of the Santa Ana winds and low humidity.
In Orange County, winds could reach up to 50 mph Sunday evening in Orange, Tustin, and other areas downwind of the Santa Ana Mountains, according to NWS meteorologist Dan Gregoria.
Los Angeles will have winds up to 45 mph in the 5 Freeway corridor, according to NWS meteorologist Kristan Lund, adding that the Los Angeles Mountains have a wind advisory in effect until 3 p.m. Sunday.
While no plans have been made specifically for Sunday’s forecasted conditions, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike McClintock said the agency is sending the maximum response to all vegetation fires.
“We are in Santa Ana wind season,” McClintock said, noting that October usually brings heightened fire risk to San Bernardino County.
As Santa Ana winds season kicks off, McClintock urged those in San Bernardino County to report downed power lines to 911 due to the fire hazard they present. Power equipment has previously caused significant ignition risks in California’s wildfire-prone landscape and led to some of the state’s largest fires.