As some are gearing up to cook in the kitchen, Southern California Edison is prepared to shut off power to some Riverside County residents as a fire safety precaution.
Over 4,000 people could be affected by this possible power shut-off, but officials tell us these measures are being taken to keep people safe.
“Anything that we can do to reduce the chance or the probability of having a wildfire makes a difference,” said Captain Fernando Herrera, Public Information Officer with Riverside County Fire Department.
Firefighters are on alert because of the dangerous combination of dry conditions along with a Santa Ana wind event picking up.
And because of that threat, Southern California Edison is also on alert and looking at how to cut the risks of fire sparked by any of its equipment.
“What happens during this high wind events is debris or tree branches may fall into our power lines or may blow into our power lines and when that happens that could create a spark. so when we do these shut-offs, that prevents a spark from occurring because the equipment has been turned off,” explained Reggie Kumar, Southern California Edison Spokesperson.
A map on the Southern California Edison website shows what areas could be affected in riverside county, along with a map showing the high-risk fire areas and the threat that firefighters are up against.
“We’re in that perfect weather, that potentially any type of spark or any small fire can quickly grow into a large major fire,” said Herrera.
And so this Thanksgiving officials have a warning.
“Avoid using a turkey fryer in an open area, avoid doing any type of open type barbecuing or anything like that if it’s out in the open, and I mean in the open meaning out in the wilderness, out in an open area, no necessarily in your backyard,” added Herrera.
“We know public safety power shut-offs are disruptive to our customers and to our communities especially during the Thanksgiving holiday and we’re doing all we can to keep the power flowing and reduce the number and length of our shut-offs that could occur possibly tomorrow and Friday,” said Kumar.
All customers that will be affected by the shut-off have already been notified. And a fire weather watch has now been upgraded to a red flag warning which will go into effect from 2 p.m. Thursday, lasting till 6 p.m. Friday.