Some 51,500 Southern California Edison customers were without power Monday evening and the utility was considering cutting service to 166,000 more as the new week brought another dangerous round of Santa Ana winds.
By Monday afternoon, the winds had already driven a brush fire at a riverbed near the Santa Paula Airport. The blaze, called the Cornell Fire, rapidly spread with winds blowing at least 35 mph, the Ventura County Fire Department said.
The utility sought to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires, with customers across eight counties warned they could lose service over the next few days.
As of 9 p.m. Monday, power was shut off for more than 8,000 in Los Angeles County, five in Orange County, nearly 14,500 in Riverside County, 3,000 in San Bernardino County, more than 20,000 in Ventura County and 4,800 in Kern County.
Other counties that could be impacted include Santa Barbara and Tulare.
SCE typically alerts those who could be affected by possible power outages. Its website also has a map of areas being considered for the precautionary move.
Much of L.A., Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, as well as inland Orange County, are under a red flag warning through 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Forecasters expect wind strength to peak Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning, when gusts could reach 40 to 55 mph in some coastal and valley areas. In the mountains, including the Santa Monicas, winds could gust up to 55 to 70 mph.
Humidities could drop to the single digits, according to the National Weather Service.
“Any fires that develop will spread rapidly. Outdoor burning should be avoided,” NWS warned.
Last week, strong winds fanned a house fire in the Silverado Canyon area of Orange County.
The flames spread rapidly, burning more than 7,300 acres, damaging at least 21 structures and destroying at least 30 more. The blaze, dubbed the Bond Fire, was 60% contained as of Monday morning.