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Edison warns of possible power shut-offs in parts of Malibu, Valley

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The utility company is bracing for Santa Ana winds—and critical wildfire conditions

Three skinny palm trees in front of brown mountains tops bend against a cloudy sky.
Edison might cut off power to roughly 49,024 customers in parts of Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Malibu, San Fernando, and Sylmar.
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Nearly 50,000 Los Angeles County residents could be without power at some point this week.

Southern California Edison warns that—due to the high fire risk forecast for the week—it might cut off power to roughly 49,024 customers in parts of Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Malibu, San Fernando, and Sylmar and adjacent canyons.

Customers in Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster and about three dozen unincorporated areas might also face power outages.

Edison considers the so-called “public safety power shutoffs” when there is the potential for elevated fire risk in certain areas.

The return of the Santa Ana winds—expected today through Friday—and very low humidity are creating prime weather conditions for a fire, according to the National Weather Service.

The Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for most of LA and Ventura counties, and they’re expected to remain in effect until at least Friday afternoon. Gusts of up to 70 mph are possible Thursday night.

Strong, gusty winds can whip up embers and spread wildfires. “If fire ignition occurs, conditions may be favorable for extreme fire behavior, which would threaten life and property,” the Weather Service warns.

If a shut-off is imminent, Edison aims to give customers notices 48 and 24 hours in advance of an outage. Those notices can come via emails, texts, or phone calls, depending on how customers have their account preferences set up, says spokesperson Mary Ann Milbourn.

The Los Angeles Fire Department uses its own criteria to determine red flag days, and as of now, those criteria haven’t been met, says spokesperson Margaret Stewart. That means red flag parking restrictions are not in effect.

The city’s new plan to clear homeless encampments out of hillside areas with high fire danger on red flag days is also put into effect independently of the weather service’s red flag determinations.

In Northern California and the Bay Area, electrical utility PG&E has already begun to shut off power in stages to more than 800,000 customers across 34 counties in a drastic move to prevent the outbreak of fire.