The Santa Ana we’ve got right now in San Diego County may cause some winds to affect a golf tournament and blow down a few patio umbrellas and tree branches here and there. And of course when the Santa Ana’s happen, they can make your skin dry and itchy.
But for the 25-hundred or so customers of San Diego Gas and Electric, who have had their power turned off, a Santa Ana is more than just a minor inconvenience.
SDGE turns off the power to certain areas of the inland parts of the county where the Santa Ana winds blow the hardest. The idea of course is to reduce the chances of those strong winds blowing down active power lines and starting a wildfire.
Many of the customers who have had their power shut off till the Santa Ana conditions end have to find other ways to keep things refrigerated and to keep themselves cool despite the warmer temperatures and also not bump into things at night.
It’s clearly an inconvenience and you can understand why some people are not thrilled with having their power gone. But of course SDGE and local fire agencies remind us that a wildfire can quickly become far more than an inconvenience.
One day, maybe all power lines will be made in such a way, or buried underground, that even if they are blown down, they can’t spark fires.
That would help make sure wildfires aren’t started and that thousands of people in the inland and backcountry areas of the county aren’t sitting in the dark with their frozen food packed in ice.
Photo credit C. E. Albert