The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Ventura and Los Angeles Counties on Wednesday and Tuesday. The NWS alert says early season Santa Ana Winds will create “critical fire danger” in many areas:
Gusty Sundowner winds across southern Santa Barbara county and gusty northerly winds in the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains (especially near the Interstate 5 corridor) will likely bring critical Red Flag fire weather conditions to these areas. The critically dry fuels will result in a greater threat of fire ignitions as well as rapid fire growth.
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Even under normal conditions such a warning is noteworthy, but with the Bobcat Fire already burning unconfined and another larger blaze in San Bernardino at 7 percent containment, it takes on added urgency.
The National Weather Service says north to northeast winds will develop Tuesday afternoon and continue through Wednesday. The strongest winds are expected Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with gusts between 50 and 60 mph.
The Red Flag Warning extends from noon on Tuesday until 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the entity that operates California’s electrical grid is warning that local power providers may “begin Public Safety Power Shutoffs to keep communities safe from wildfires.”
After power lines were responsible for the deadly Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire that ripped through Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Malibu in 2018, power providers like Southern California Edison, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and PG&E are quick to cut power to lines in wildfire-prone areas.
With winds reaching 50 to 60 miles per hour, power lines are vulnerable to being blown over and sparking. The NWS also warns that recent record-setting heat in the area coupled with what are expected to be humidity levels between 5 and 15 percent will have fuel on the ground dangerously dry.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of SCE and DWP customers remained without power early today, and electricity for some was not expected to be restored until Tuesday.
The DWP reported shortly after 1 p.m. Monday that 32,000 customers remained without power, down from 70,000 at 9 p.m. Sunday. The utility said 8,000 customers were “affected by small, neighborhood level outages.” The estimated time of total restoration of services is 48 hours from the time an outage began, DWP spokesperson Dawn Cottrell said. Customers who have been without power the longest were receiving top priority. The DWP was requesting mutual aid from nearby utilities in order to help with the high number of small outages.
“Restoring neighborhood outages affecting groups of 5-20 homes takes our crews much longer than larger circuit level or partial circuit outages where a single crew may be able to restore power to 500 to 1000+ customers in the same amount of time,” a utility statement said. “In contrast, neighborhood outages typically take a single crew 4-6 hours to restore power to a much smaller group of customers.”
The statement added that DWP crews “have been working around the clock on 16-hour shifts since Saturday and will continue until every last customer is restored. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we respond to one of the worst heat storms ever to hit our city.”
Some of the most affected communities included:
— Leimert Park, 1,815 customers
— Mount Washington, 389
— Hyde Park, 1,056
— Mid-Wilshire, 1,339
— West Adams, 1,537
— Park LaBrea, 1,332
— Hollywood Hills, 1,049
— East Hollywood, 2,593
— Highland Park, 1,095
— Pacoima, 455
— Arleta, 587
— Sylmar, 3,895
— North Hollywood, 372
— Sun Valley, 559
— Panorama City, 640
— Lake View Terrace, 879
— Studio City 448
Meanwhile, SCE was experiencing an even greater number of outages. By early Monday, SCE had reported 411 outages on its website affecting 20,991 LA County customers, and 84 outages in Orange County affecting 2,630 customers. There were 2,179 customers without power in unincorporated LA County, 277 in San Gabriel, 600 in South Gate, 250 in Whittier and 641 in Pomona. In Orange County, 499 customers were affected in Buena Park, 277 in La Habra and 272 in Garden Grove. SCE said some customers might not have their power restored until Tuesday.
The DWP urged people to set air conditioners to 78-82 degrees and “skip laundry and heavy appliance use.”
Those experiencing a power outage were urged to report it at http://www.ladwp.com/outages or by calling 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397) using the automated system.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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