Santa Ana winds are expected to create an increased wildfire danger up and down the state starting today and continuing into the start of the weekend.
San Diego Gas & Electric and other power companies announced that service would be shut off as a precaution to thousands of customers in order to reduce the risk of a spark from wires or transmission lines could spark a fire.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for the inland valleys and mountains in San Diego County for the period between Noon Thursday and last until 6 p.m. Friday.
On Tuesday night, SDG&E notified 30,000 customers that their power may be impacted by a potential shutoff.
Communities that could have their power turned off include:
- Banner Grade
- Santa Ysabel
- East Ramona
- Palomar Mountain
- East Alpine
- Pine Valley
- Mt Laguna
- Valley Center
- West Valley Center
- Mesa Grande
- Rancho Santa Fe
Click herefor updates on communities that may be affected.
“This particular event, we are looking to our mountains and foothills,” SDG&E Director of Fire Science Brian D’Agostino, said. “Particularly in areas along the east of Alpine to Ramona, and up into the mountains, that’s where we are going to see the strongest winds.”
“It could be a flying tarp. It could be a patio set,” SDG&E Communications Manager Zoraya Griffin said. “Something that is making contact with our lines, it compromises our ability to operate those lines, and ignition will start.”
Power companies have 48 hours to notify their service partners and customers if they must shut off their power. In that time, they encourage customers to:
- Update your contact information to receive phone or text alerts
- Make and practice emergency plans with your family
- Have medical and electrical supplies fully charged
- If you have a backup generator, know how to use it.
Once the first alert is sent, the company will send another notification at 24 hours out, and 1 hour out, and periodically until power is restored.
SDG&E scientists anticipate Santa Ana Winds to gust up to 70 mph in San Diego's backcountry, which means it will only take seconds for a spark to blow up into an inferno. “Those in the higher elevations are going to be the areas that are most susceptible,” D’Agostino said.
The last time SDG&E notified the public of a Public Safety Power Shutoff was in Nov. 2018, also for a Santa Ana Wind event.
(Photo credit reporting partner 10News)