Thousands of Southern California utility customers were warned they could be in darkness on Friday as dry, windy blazing weather lashed the area.
Initially 100,000 customers were under consideration for precautionary power cuts to prevent fires, but that number was reduced to 47,000 by the afternoon, said Taelor Bakewell, spokesperson for Southern California Edison.
Yet electricity was cut to 15,796 customers on Friday as part of the preventive plan, she said.
Customers in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties could still be affected, she said. Another 2,739 San Diego County customers have been warned of possible San Diego Gas & Electric shutdowns, the utility said.
The city of Los Angeles has its own taxpayer-run utility that does not participate in precautionary blackouts. Closures have also become customary in dry, windy weather in California.
State fire officials determined Pacific Gas & Electric transmission lines were the cause of the state’s deadliest fire, the 2018 Campfire, and the utility accepted billions of dollars. dollars in settlements linked to a fire eruption in northern California in 2017.
Even in late November, with nighttime temperatures generating frost warnings in parts of southern California, fires can break out. The forecast for the weekend includes dry winds off the US-Mexico border into Ventura County.
Gusts of up to 65 mph were possible in the regional mountains until Saturday afternoon, the national weather service said.
“What causes the risk of fire is not just the temperature,” said Tom Fischer, meteorologist with the Oxnard Weather Service. “It’s wind, low humidity and fuel humidity. “
The winds could calm down on Sunday, he said: “But don’t let your guard down.”