By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Thousands of SoCal Edison customers are without electricity Thursday as a precaution because of the gusty, powerful winds raking the region.

SoCal Edison began shutting off power to customers Wednesday afternoon as a Red Flag warning went into effect for much of Southern California.

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The power shutoffs are used to prevent wildfires caused by electrical lines sparking during strong wind weather conditions.

Of its five million customers, SoCal Edison says they shut off power to more than 52,000. The bulk of the power outages were in the Inland Empire, where 24,343 customers in Riverside County and 3,824 in San Bernardino County were in the dark. In Los Angeles County, 9,935 were without power, along with 6,419 in Ventura County.

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In Riverside County, residents say they lost power around 10 p.m. without warning, causing some frustration.

But then on Thursday afternoon, a large industrial fire broke out in the Crestmore area, raising concerns as the Santa Ana winds threatened to push the embers into neighboring dry brush.

In Orange County, where firefighters are battling the wind-whipped Bond Fire, 1,605 customers were without power.

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But because this week’s wind storm is expected to last into Saturday, almost 250,000 SoCal Edison customers are under consideration for a public safety power shutoff. They include 76,864 in Ventura County; 58,390 in San Bernardino County; 54,030 in Riverside County; 28,412 in Los Angeles County; and 19,297 in Orange County.