SoCal Edison narrows scope of customers potentially impacted by power shutoffs due to dangerous fire conditions

ByMarc Cota-Robles, Carlos Granda, and staff via KABC logo
Friday, November 1, 2019
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Strong winds continued to prompt concerns over power shutoffs Friday, with northern San Fernando Valley residents on edge as the threat of wildfires loomed.

PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Strong winds continued to prompt concerns over power shutoffs Friday, with northern San Fernando Valley residents on edge as the threat of wildfires loomed.

Southern California Edison says they may shut off power to customers in high-risk areas as a precaution. The number of possible shutoffs are substantially less than last week, when as many as 170,000 customers across the Southland faced outages. SCE initially said more than 33,000 customers in the region could be affected in this latest round of potential shutoffs, but later lowered that number to more than 22,500.

In Los Angeles County, as many as 4,218 customers could be impacted, along with 419 in Ventura, 891 in Riverside, 2,007 in Orange and 6,702 customers in San Bernardino counties.

Areas under consideration for power shut-off by SoCal Edison as of 12:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1:

A fast-moving brush fire broke out in Santa Barbara County on Thursday afternoon. By evening, the Real Fire had burned more than 400 acres as firefighters achieved 20% containment.

Gusts, which started picking up Thursday night and continued into Friday, heightened the risk of other fires erupting across the region. Winds - which are not as strong as the round of Santa Ana winds that moved through the region last week - toppled at least one large tree and damaged a vehicle in Porter Ranch. Even stronger winds are expected to arrive Sunday.

"We had gusty winds yesterday evening and we're planning on having winds throughout the weekend," said Pono Barnes with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "Last night was the first test of our containment lines and it was great. Lines held and our firefighters did a great job out there and they're out there today and will be till they get this wrap on this fire."

The Saddle Ridge Fire - which fire investigators say began under a SoCal Edison transmission tower in Sylmar - has burned over 8,300 acres at 68% containment.

Firefighters are still looking for hot spots in the Saddle Ridge fire zone, with winds raising new worries about a possible flare-up.

The LAFD has helicopters with infrared technology flying at night to detect hot spots and water-dropping helicopters hitting those hot spots during the day. Because of the wind event, 800 firefighters will remain in the fire zone.

An assistance center, which opened Thursday at the Sylmar Recreation Center located at 13109 Borden Ave., is designed to be a one-stop resource for people impacted by the Saddle Ridge Fire - as potential red flag warning conditions loom.

A wind advisory was expected until 11 a.m. Saturday. Fire danger levers were raised from very high to extreme in the Angeles National Forest and in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

City, state and government agencies along with non-profit organizations are providing help on filing insurance claims, applying for disaster relief, replacing records lost in the fire and cleaning, repairing and rebuilding property.