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As forecast of Santa Ana winds drew near, Southern California Edison expanded its power shutoff watch to more than 168,000 customers across the region.

As of Tuesday evening, the utility said it could cut electricity in the following communities in an effort to avert wildfires (see SoCal Edison’s website for maps and the latest updates):

  • Los Angeles County (about 49,439 customers)
    • Lancaster
    • Palmdale
    • La Cañada Flintridge
    • Malibu
    • Pasadena
    • Chatsworth
    • San Fernando
    • Santa Clarita
    • Unincorporated areas including Acton, Agua Dulce, Boiling Point, White Heather, Sunland, Tujunga, La Crescenta, Montrose, Wildwood, Canyon Country, Newhall, Forest Park, Sleepy Valley, Del Valle, Leona Valley, Plum Canyon, Alpine, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Mount Wilson, Quartz Hill, Lake Hughes, Green Valley, Elizabeth Lake, Sun Village, Portal Ridge, near Antelope Valley and unincorporated areas near Chatsworth and Sylmar
  • San Bernardino County (about 40,978 customers)
    • Big Bear
    • Calimesa
    • Fontana
    • Hesperia
    • Rancho Cucamonga
    • Rialto
    • San Bernardino
    • Yucaipa
    • Yucca Valley
    • Unincorporated areas including the communities of Doble and Upper Holcomb Valley, Cajon Pass, Devore, Etiwanda, Lucerne Valley, Lytle Creek, Running Springs, Lake Arrowhead, Cedar Pines Park, Valley of Enchantment, Crestline, Valley View Park, Joshua Tree, Homestead Valley, Oak Hills, Muscoy, Green Valley Lake, Morongo Valley and unincorporated areas near Yucca Valley
  • Ventura County (about 23,139 customers)
    • Fillmore
    • Camarillo
    • Simi Valley
    • Santa Rosa Valley
    • Ventura
    • Unincorporated areas including Sespe, Oak Village, north of Moorpark, Piru, Elkins Ranch Golf Course, Leesdale, north Fillmore, Santa Susana, Stauffer, Sycamore Canyon, Solromar, unincorporated areas near Piru and communities near Telegraph Road
  • Riverside County (about 21,366 customers)
    • Riverside
    • Banning
    • Beaumont
    • Calimesa
    • Hemet
    • San Jacinto
    • Menifee
    • Moreno Valley
    • Perris
    • Unincorporated Riverside County including the communities of Whitewater and Bonnie Bell, Banning Pass, Cabazon, Owl, portions of Desert Hills Outlet Mall, North Palm Springs, Gilman Hot Springs, Lakeview, Nuevo, Mons, Mead Valley, Eden Hot Springs, Mountain Center, Good Hope and unincorporated areas near Beaumont and Banning
  • Orange County (about 7,250 customers)
    • Rancho Santa Margarita
    •  Orange
    • Unincorporated areas including North Tustin
  • Kern County (about 19,313 customers)
    • Tehachapi
    • Unincorporated areas including Frazier Park, Kernville, Wofford Heights, Lake Isabella, Camp Owens, south of Tehachapi, Lebec, Bear Valley Springs, Stallion Springs, Keene, Golden Hills, Sand Canyon, Alpine Forest, Manolith, Weldon, Bella Vista, near Antelope Valley, near Monolith, Onyx and Canebrake
  • Mono County (about 13,963 customers)
    • Mammoth Lakes
    • Unincorporated areas near Bishop including the community of Paradise and portion of Swall Meadows, Mammoth Lakes (Trails, Core, North, Slopes), June Lake Village, Loop, Crestview, Mono Lake, Mono City, North Conway, Willow Springs, Bridgeport, Old Mammoth, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Lee Vining, Lee Vining Canyon, Falls Creek Tract and Bridgeport Valley to Twin Lakes
  • Inyo County (about 131 customers)
    • Unincorporated areas near Bishop including Aspendell and Round Valley
  • Tulare County (about 108 customers)
    • Unincorporated areas including Fairview and Johnsondale

A red flag warning was issued for most of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and it was set to go into effect at 3 a.m. Thursday and go on until 6 p.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service warned of Santa Ana winds blowing northeast to east with gusts about 35 to 60 mph in the  inland regions of Orange County, the Coachella Valley and communities in the mountains and inland valleys.

In L.A. and Ventura counties, gusts could reach 70 mph in the mountains and 55 mph on the coast and in the valleys. Forecasters expect peak winds on Thursday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Humidity could drop to 5 to 10%, according to the National Weather Service.

“The gusty NE winds along with warm and very dry conditions will lead to a potential for critical fire danger and rapid fire growth,” the agency said.

Mike Des Forges with Ventura County Fire Department said the agency would be beefing up staffing with additional engines to prepare for the potentially rapidly shifting conditions.

“The Santa Ana Winds are, in effect, a blowtorch,” he said. “They cause extreme, extreme fire behavior.”

Early Monday, SoCal Edison’s power shutoff watch only included 12,000 customers, mostly in Mono and Kern counties. The company in late September cut service for dozens of homes in the unincorporated areas between Beaumont and Banning in Riverside County for nearly six hours.

Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric issued a wider warning in Northern and Central California this week, where millions of people across 34 counties could be affected by shutoffs starting at midnight.

PG&E power lines ignited some of the most devastating fires in California over the past two years. In May, state regulators approved a rule that allows utility companies to preemptively turn off service to avoid blazes.