SoCal Edison turns off power to 7,850 customers on Thanksgiving as Santa Ana winds raise fire risk

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Faced with Santa Ana winds threatening to ignite wildfires, Southern California Edison on Thanksgiving Day turned power off to nearly 6,000 customers and considered shutoffs for tens of thousands more in the region.

The utility on Thursday was weighing cutting power to more than 100,000 of its customers in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, Riverside and Ventura counties.

As of 11 p.m., 7,846 customers were without service — 1,288 in Los Angeles County, 946 in Orange County, 3,855 in Ventura County and 1,757 in San Bernardino County, according to the utility.

Edison typically performs shut offs to avoid having its electric system ignite fires when the region sees elevated fire danger. Residents can enter their address on SoCal Edison’s website to check if their neighborhood is being considered for a “public safety power shutoff.”

“We understand these PSPS actions are disruptive to our customers—especially during the Thanksgiving holiday—and we are making every effort to reduce the impact,” Edison said in a statement.

Red flag warnings are in effect for Los Angeles and Ventura counties from 2 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Saturday, with the strongest winds expected Friday morning.

Wind gusts up to 50 to 65 mph are forecast in the mountain regions and 40 to 55 mph in the coastal and valley areas, paired with very low humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

This Santa Ana wind event is expected to be a cold one, with highs in the 60s to low 70s.

Residents can expect to see toppled trees and power lines as the powerful winds sweep through the region, forecasters said.

Jamar Champ of Porter Ranch says the winds were strong enough to knock out his family’s power while they were preparing food Thursday.

“We kind of had to maneuver,” he said. “The wind storm knocked the power, but we got the generator, so we got it up and going. But it delayed us on our cooking.” 

Javier Sanchez, who lives in Chatsworth, said he awoke Thursday morning to find all his patio furniture had been blown into the pool. 

In the Angeles National Forest, the fire department increased its staffing and additional firefighting resources moved into the area to brace for any potential fires.

Earlier this year, tree branches hitting SoCal Edison equipment in the forest near Cogswell Dam possibly sparked the Bobcat Fire, a wind-driven blaze that ripped through more than 115,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes.

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