SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA) – Nearly all of Los Angeles and Ventura counties were under a red flag warning to start the week because of a Santa Ana wind event which will create dangerous wildfire conditions.
The red flag warning took effect at 4 a.m. Monday and will stay in place until 10 p.m. Tuesday. Wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour are possible.READ MORE: Lakers down Spurs, 125-121 in Overtime
The windy conditions, low humidity and dry conditions will make for critical wildfire danger.
“The Santa Ana winds are expected to peak in strength and coverage Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning when wind gusts of 40 to 55 mph will be likely for the wind favored coastal and valley areas of L.A. and Ventura counties, while damaging gusts of 55 to 70 mph will be possible for the mountains,” the National Weather Service wrote in a statement.
This will mark the third such Santa Ana wind event in just the past three weeks. The winds could down trees and power lines, forcing Southern California Edison to potentially implement precautionary public safety shutoffs yet again. On Thanksgiving Day, and again last week, SCE shut off power to thousands of people.
As of Monday morning, 193,137 SCE customers across the Southland are at risk of seeing their power shut off. That includes over 45,000 customers in L.A. County and another 36,000 in San Bernardino County. To see if your address is in the shutoff area, click here.
“Hopefully the power doesn’t go out, because I’m doing online school and when the power goes out, I can’t really do my schoolwork,” said Justin Millsap, who lives in Fontana.
The preventative power shutoffs are meant to help make sure that fires are not caused by tree branches and other debris blowing into power lines.READ MORE: Palmdale Man Arrested In Attempted Kidnapping On Tuesday
“Sometimes we go days without power,” said Fontana resident Sandra Maldonado. “So, it’s very frustrating.”
On the night of Dec. 2, Santa Ana winds helped spread a wildfire which broke out in Silverado Canyon area east of Irvine. The more than 7,300-acre Bond Fire, which started as a house fire before spreading into nearby brush, has destroyed at least 28 buildings. It also forced thousands of people to flee.
As of Sunday, it was 55% contained. All evacuation orders have been lifted.
Beginning in August and lasting through October, there were several heat waves in California which sparked rolling blackouts for the first time since 2001, and helped contribute to the spread of a historic number of wildfires up and down the state which destroyed thousands of homes and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.
SCE notified California state regulators that its equipment may have been to blame for sparking the Silverado Fire, which broke out east of Irvine in late October , burning 13,400 acres and forcing more than 90,000 to evacuate their homes.
Also in October, Ventura County fire investigators reported that the Easy and Maria fires, which broke out in October of 2019, were both caused by electrical equipment failures. In the Easy Fire, SCE equipment was to blame, officials said.MORE NEWS: Kat Von D Closing West Hollywood Tattoo Shop, Moving To Indiana
In November of 2019, while the Easy and Maria fires were still burning, SCE reached a $360 million settlement admitting that its equipment was also responsible for starting the 2017 Thomas Fire and the 2018 Woolsey Fire.