Dry conditions, windy weather and high temperatures will hit Southern California, bringing extreme fire conditions that could lead to another electricity shutoff in some areas.
About 184,000 customers could have their power shut off this week to reduce the risk, Pacific Gas & Electric officials said Tuesday.
“We understand the hardship created by these cutoffs, and there are safety risks on both sides. But again we’ve seen the impact of wildfires, both over the years and recently in Southern California, and we’re determined not to let that happen,” said Bill Johnson, the utility company’s CEO.
The National Weather Service warned that strong Santa Ana winds could combine with hot temperatures, single-digit humidities and dry fuels to spark extreme fires. Some areas in Southern California were setting records Tuesday.
“It looks like we will at least tie a few heat records today! Sandberg reached their record high of 84 (degrees Fahrenheit) set in 2003 and Camarillo reached their record of 99 set in 1965,” the National Weather Service said.
“Anaheim was the hottest place in America for the second day in a row with a high of 103.”
Southern California Edison is warning that it could cut power to some 162,000 customers in six counties on Thursday and Friday. Check SCE’s website for an updated list of communities that could be affected by the wildfire prevention measure.
Power shutoff could affect 17 counties
The potential power shutoff could affect 17 counties in the Sierra Foothills, North Bay, and San Mateo and Kern counties.
The utility company began notifying customers by texts, emails and automated phone calls Monday that they could have their power shut off. It did so again Tuesday.
A combination of gusty winds, dry grass and dead and dying trees are fueling the fire risk, leading to the need for possible power shutoffs, PG&E said.
Based on the forecast and wind speeds, PG&E officials said they expect this wind event to be weaker than during the previous shutoff. Nearly 800,000 customers were without power earlier this month when the utility company called for a Public Safety Power Shutoff to prevent wildfires due to dry and windy weather conditions.
PG&E’s announcement comes as firefighters grapple with a busy wildfire season. There were eight fires burning in the state, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.