US Utility set to cut power to thousands of Californians amid dangerous winds
Another utility-sparked wildfire? SoCal Edison alerts state regulators it had malfunction at start of Saddleridge Fire
A Southern California utility company alerted state regulators that it suffered an electrical malfunction that may be linked to the damaging Saddleridge Fire burning in Los Angeles County, state officials told The Chronicle on Monday. The report by Southern California Edison to the California Public Utilities Commission was similar to one made by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. last year in the days following the Camp Fire in Butte County, the deadliest and most destructive blaze in California history. State investigators later concluded that PG&E equipment sparked the fire.
LOS ANGELES — Large swaths of California will once again be without power as the state’s largest utility prepares to cut electrical service to 179,000 customers as early as Wednesday afternoon amid heightened concerns that hot weather and strong winds could lead to wildfires.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced Wednesday that it will begin shutting off power to customers in the Sierra Foothills about 2 p.m. An hour later, counties in the North Bay will lose service. By 1 a.m. Thursday, portions of San Mateo and Kern counties will also be in the dark.
California regulator sanctions utility over power outages
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's utility regulator is issuing a series of sanctions against Pacific Gas and Electric for what it calls "failures in execution" during the largest planned power shut-off in state history to avoid wildfires. California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer says the utility must have a goal of restoring power within 12 hours instead of its current 48 hours, minimize the scale of outages and improve communication.PG&E last week took the unprecedented step of cutting power to more than 700,000 customers, affecting nearly 2 million Californians.
“This Public Safety Power Shutoff decision was based on forecasts of dry, hot and windy weather that poses a higher risk for damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread,” the utility wrote in a statement.
The shutoff is expected to impact customers in 17 counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Tehama and Yuba.
Forecasters say peak winds should subside by noon Thursday in the Sierra Foothills, North Bay and San Mateo County and around noon Friday in Kern County.
Once the winds calm, the utility said it will inspect the de-energized lines to ensure they weren’t damaged before turning power back on. However, many customers could be without power for at least two days after the winds subside, according to the utility.
Edison considers power shutdowns this weekend amid high winds and fire risk
Already by Friday afternoon, Southern California Edison power lines were being blamed for sparking a small brush fire in Santa Clarita. The blaze broke out shortly after noon along the southbound 5 Freeway at Calgrove Boulevard when downed wires ignited dry brush, said Marvin Lim, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Residents extinguished the flames before firefighters arrived, he said. Edison spokesman David Eisenhauer said the utility is cooperating with investigators to determine the cause of the fire."Determining the cause is a lengthy process," he said.
Southern California Edison said more than 162,000 customers in six counties — Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and Kern — could also face blackouts. It is not clear when power to those areas might be shut off.
San Diego Gas & Electric has identified about 24,000 customers in several communities that may be subject to a public safety power shut-off because of weather including high winds.
Gov. Gavin Newsom stepped up his criticism of PG&E, which came under intense criticism earlier this month over chaotic power shutdowns that impacted millions across Northern California.
“I believe the unacceptable scope and duration of the previous outage … was the direct result of decades of PG&E prioritizing profit over public safety,” Newsom wrote in a letter to PG&E Tuesday.
Red flag warnings were in effect beginning Wednesday in a large swath of Northern California as well the Los Angeles area.
70,000 California wildfire victims may miss out on payments
As many as 100,000 Californians are eligible to receive payments for the damages they suffered from a series of devastating wildfires over the last several years. But tens of thousands of them have not sought compensation.© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2018, file photo, homes leveled by the Camp Fire line the Ridgewood Mobile Home Park retirement community in Paradise, Calif. Attorneys say as many as 100,000 Californians are eligible to receive payments for the damages they've suffered from a series of devastating wildfires over the last several years, but tens of thousands of them have not.
Southern California is in the midst of a fall heat wave brought by a mixture of high pressure and offshore winds, with temperatures at least 10 degrees warmer than usual, said Jimmy Taeger, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Diego.
Temperatures ranging from 90 degrees to more than 100 degrees are expected across much of the Southland. The coolest beaches in the region are expected to see the mid- or upper 80s, forecasters say.
The warming trend prompted the weather service to issue a heat advisory from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday, suggesting that people “drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.”
The heat will get a boost when Santa Ana winds arrive Wednesday night, bringing prime conditions for wildfires across the region. Forecasters say that although there’s still some uncertainty about the strength of the winds, they anticipate peak gusts of 20 to 60 mph.
“There’s a fire weather watch in place on Thursday and Friday, but we still have elevated fire weather conditions today with it being hot, dry and a little bit windy,” Taeger said.
Southern California back on fire watch as dangerous winds return; red flag warnings expanded
Southern California is back on fire watch this weekend amid winds and warm temperatures, with Southern California Edison warning of possible preventive power outages. A small brush fire broke out Saturday morning in the Hollywood Hills off Stanley Hills Drive but was quickly extinguished by firefighters, who said there were no winds at the time. But that is expected to change throughout the region. The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning for Santa Barbara County's south coast and mountain regions that remains in effect through Sunday night. The Real fire near Goleta started Thursday and burned 420 acres. It is now 50% contained.
Even in light winds Monday, firefighters rushed to stop a blaze that quickly consumed about 40 acres in Pacific Palisades, burning dangerously close to multimillion-dollar homes in a hillside neighborhood and sending up a plume of smoke visible throughout the Los Angeles Basin.
In San Bernardino, firefighters took on a blaze that broke out Monday afternoon near homes in the Little Mountain area. The fire started shortly after 5 p.m. in thick brush near West 39th Street and North Severance Avenue. Aided by wind gusts of up to 30 mph, the fire raced up hills, burning 17 acres, damaging six structures and leaving two structures uninhabitable. The causes of both fires are being investigated.
Small fires that started Tuesday in Whittier, Riverside and Brentwood were quickly controlled.
High temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds are also expected in portions of Northern California on Wednesday and Thursday.
©2019 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at
Getty fire: ‘Extreme’ warning issued ahead of hurricane-force winds .
LOS ANGELES - In an ominous new warning, the National Weather Service issued a rare “extreme red flag warning” for Southern California through Thursday evening, saying winds could top 80 mph and be the strongest in more than a decade. Officials worry the winds could prove disastrous for the smoldering Getty fire, which broke out shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday along the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center museum and quickly spread into tony neighborhoods. A day after it sparked, the blaze had charred 658 acres, burned several homes and sent thousands of residents fleeing in the dark. The fire was 5% contained as of early Tuesday.
Power outages in Northern California as winds bring wildfire danger | AFP
Power is shut off in the San Francisco Bay Area as blackouts set to affect millions of Californians begin in the face of hot, windy weather that raises the risk of ...
PG&E cutting power to thousands amid fire danger in NorCal
PG&E said Monday it was planning to shut off the power to about 21000 customers across three Northern California counties Monday evening amid windy ...