Power restored to over 4,500 following red flag warning, SDG&E reports

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SAN DIEGO — Power was restored to over 4,500 residents in the county Friday, following a red flag warning issued earlier this week, according to a San Diego Gas & Electric spokesman.

It was unclear exactly what time power was restored. Previously, SDG&E reported that over 40 communities could be impacted by outages, with 48,783 customers potentially being affected.

As of 7:15 a.m., an estimated 4,452 residents were waiting for power to return to their homes. Affected communities included Alpine, Boulevard, Campo, Descanso, Fallbrook, Jamul, Potrero and Warner Springs, according to San Diego Gas & Electric.

By 10 a.m., that number had dropped to about 3,200 customers.

SDG&E said on Twitter that weather was improving and that system inspections had started. “We’ll restore power as soon as possible to areas where winds have calmed with no damage,” the utility explained. “You may be on a different circuit than neighbors, not all are restored at the same time.”

A few hours later, under 1,000 people were affected.

A look at the communities still affected by public safety shutoffs the morning after Thanksgiving. This snapshot shows conditions at 7:15 a.m. Power was restored gradually to some areas by late morning. (Photo: SDG&E)

The outages began Thursday morning as families prepared for Thanksgiving Day, with more than 5,300 customers affected by 8:15 a.m. That number lingered near 6,000 late that evening, with the bulk of the outages being public safety power shutoffs. The shutoffs are aimed at reducing the risk of fires sparking due to defective or damaged equipment in high winds.

A red flag warning for fire danger remains in effect until 6 p.m. Friday, driven by high winds and dry conditions. The National Weather Service forecast calls for easterly winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts reaching 55 mph and some isolated areas seeing even stronger winds. Humidity levels will fall to between 5% and 10%.

“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” according to the NWS. “Outdoor burning is not recommended.”

The strongest recorded gusts on Thursday included 68 mph on Sill Hill, 60 mph on Palomar Mountain and 51 mph on Viejas Grade Road. The winds are expected to diminish by the weekend, along with a gradual recovery in humidity.

Two community resource centers were available to people affected by outages Friday:

  • Descanso Community Resource Center, 9545 River Drive, Descanso, 91916. Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Potrero Community Resource Center, 24550 Highway 94 Potrero, 91963. Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

More information and resources are available on the utility’s website.

In Santee Thursday, flames from an 18-acre wildfire came perilously close to homes, but fire crews were able to keep the blaze at bay. No significant damage was reported, despite harrowing images of neighbors spraying down large flames with garden hoses.

Out in Boulevard, residents of the small rural community spent the day without power. The staff at the Live Oak Springs Market spoke to FOX 5 about accepting IOUs from customers and dealing with food spoilage during a day of operating without SDG&E service.

FOX 5’s Brittney Donovan and City News Service contributed to this report.

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