Thousands of Southern California Edison customers remained without power Friday morning as ongoing gusty winds and red flag warnings have officials concerned about an increased risk of sparking wildfires.
More than 16,000 customers in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and Kern counties were experiencing outages as of 10 a.m. Friday, according to the utility’s website.
SCE outage breakdown:
- Los Angeles County – 3,472 customers
- Orange County – 1,815 customers
- San Bernardino County – 3,154 customers
- Ventura County – 3,429 customers
- Kern County – 4,533 customers
The company is considering cutting power to more than 100,000 customers if weather conditions require.
Thousands of Riverside County customers are also being considered for shutoffs, according to SCE.
The outages began Thursday and are part of the utility’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program, designed to reduce the risk that electrical systems become a point of ignition for a wildfire.
Fire danger remains elevated Friday due to dry conditions and gusty winds, according to the National Weather Service.
A red flag warning is in place until 6 p.m. Saturday for parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Red flag warnings in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties expire at 6 p.m. Friday.
Some of the strongest winds are expected Friday morning, according to the Weather Service. Wind gusts up to 50 to 65 mph are forecast in the mountain regions and 40 to 50 mph in the valley areas.
Edison has stated that contact between tree branches and utility equipment near Cogswell Dam may have sparked the Bobcat Fire in September. That fire scorched about 115,00 acres and destroyed dozens of homes.
The company hopes that shutting off power in select areas on windy days will prevent future fires from starting under similar conditions.