20K without power, schools closed for fire danger blackouts

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SAN DIEGO -- More than 20,000 San Diego Gas & Electric customers were without power Wednesday as the utility prepared for another round of extreme fire danger.

Forecasters said Santa Ana winds with potential to be the strongest of the season would begin gusting overnight and last through Thursday evening. The winds, combined with dry weather, prompted a Red Flag Warning.

As utilities across the state have done this fire season, SDG&E began shutting down power to reduce the likelihood of faulty or damaged equipment sparking a wildfire.

As of 9 p.m., 20,240 residents and businesses in communities including El Cajon, Escondido, Fallbrook, Alpine, Ramona, Julian, Valley Center, Poway and Campo were without power. Find a detailed list of the affected communities here.

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The utility warned as many as 40,869 residents and businesses could lose electricity during the Red Flag period. When the utility used precautionary power shutoffs around the county last week, nearly 20,000 residents and businesses were without power at the shutdown's peak.

SDG&E will provide updated notifications to customers within 24 hours of an anticipated power shutoff and again within one to four hours of a shutoff. The utility advised those who receive the notification to be prepared, making sure they have such emergency supplies as water, food, flashlights, extra batteries and cellphone battery packs.

Should any precautionary power shut-off last for more than 24 hours, the utility plans to open temporary aid centers where customers can get water and snacks, charge their cellphones, and get updates. Residents can sign up for emergency alerts here.

In Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric has been held legally responsible for devastating wildfires, leading to widespread precautionary outages in the region this year. An in Los Angeles, officials learned the destructive Getty Fire was caused by a tree branch falling on power lines.

Power shutoff areas

The following communities could be affected by outages in San Diego:

  • Alpine
  • Boulevard
  • Campo
  • Descanso
  • Dulzura
  • El Cajon (portions of)
  • Encinitas (portions of)
  • Escondido (portions of)
  • Jacumba
  • Jamul (portions of)
  • Julian
  • Lakeside (portions of)
  • Mount Laguna
  • Pala
  • Palomar Mountain
  • Pauma Valley
  • Pine Valley
  • Potrero
  • Poway
  • Ramona
  • Ranchita
  • Rancho Bernardo (portions of)
  • Rancho Santa Fe (portions of)
  • San Clemente (unincorporated area east of)
  • San Juan Capistrano (unincorporated area east of)
  • San Marcos (portions of)
  • Santa Ysabel
  • Valley Center (portions of)
  • Warner Springs

School district closures

The following school districts will be closed on Thursday in anticipation of power shut-offs:

  • Dehesa School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Julian Union School District
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District
  • Spencer Valley School District
  • Vallecitos School District (will also be closed Friday)
  • Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District

The following school districts were closed Wednesday in anticipation of power shut-offs:

  • Dehesa School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Julian Union School District
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District
  • Spencer Valley School District
  • Warner Unified School District
  • Vallecitos School District

The following schools were also closed Wednesday:

  • Escondido Union School District: Conway Elementary
  • Escondido Union High School District: Del Lago Academy
  • San Marcos Unified School District: Double Peak, San Elijo Elementary and San Elijo Middle School

Community resource centers

SDG&E opened community resource centers for residents without power from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the following locations:

  • Descanso Branch Library: 9545 River Dr, Descanso, CA 91916
  • Whispering Winds Catholic Camp: 17606 Harrison Park Road, Julian, CA 92036
  • Potrero Community Center: 24550 Hwy 94, Potrero, CA 91963
  • Pine Valley Improvement Club: 28890 Old Highway 80, Pine Valley, CA 91962
  • Dulzura Community Center: 1136 Community Building Road, Dulzura, CA 91917
  • Warner Springs Resource Center: 30950 CA-79, Warner Springs, CA 92086
  • Lake Morena Community Church:¬† 29765 Oak Drive, Campo, CA 91906

Two community information centers also provided up-to-date information and were open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the following locations:

  • Ramona Branch Library, 1275 Main Street, Ramona, CA 92065
  • Valley Center Branch Library, 29200 Cole Grade Road, Valley, Center CA 92082
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