San Diego Gas and Electric warned around 2,700 utility customers in rural parts of the county that their power could be shut off beginning Friday morning because of the risks posed by fire-friendly weather.
SDG&E said the emergency power shutoffs, which are a last resort strategy, could impact the communities of Alpine, Campo Reservation, Crestwood, Descanso, Julian, La Posta Reservation, Manzanita Reservation, Pala, Santa Ysabel, Santa Ysabel Reservation, Valley Center and Viejas Reservation.
A Red Flag Warning will be in effect in San Diego County's mountains and valleys from 9 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to 9 a.m. Saturday. The warning was prompted by strong winds and low humidity forecasted over the weekend.
Sustained winds on Thanksgiving Day blew between 15 and 25 mph with gusts as strong as 35 mph. Winds will ramp up slightly on Friday in the 20 to 30 mph range with gusts up to 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
And as San Diegans cut their turkeys on Thursday, humidity started to decline and will continue until it reaches a low of 5% to 15% on Friday and Saturday, the NWS said.
“The last thing we want to be telling any of our customers right now is that we may have to shut off power given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the ongoing COVID pandemic,” said SDG&E’s Chief Customer Officer Scott Crider. “Public Safety Power Shutoffs are a last resort to prevent wildfires, and our employees are dedicated to doing everything we can to minimize impacts should it come to that. We’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates, but in an abundance of caution we have reached out to our customers so they can be prepared.”
SDG&E said staff will be working through the holiday weekend to restore power as fast as possible if there are emergency shutoffs.
A list of areas at risk of shutoffs can be found here. Impacted customers will be alerted of shutoffs via phone, text message, email, social media, and on the Alerts by SDG&E mobile app. Customers were notified of the potential shutoffs should be prepared to change their holiday plans, or even evacuate in an emergency situation.