SAN DIEGO — The first significant Santa Ana wind event is expected to elevate fire risk to near “critical” levels early in the week and San Diego Gas & Electric is warning its customers of possible power shutoffs.

On Sunday, the utility company said that it activated its Emergency Operations Center “to prepare for and respond to the fire weather conditions” out of an abundance of caution.

About 1,110 customers were also notified that Public Safety Power Shutoffs may occur as “a last resort” in the coming days due to the windy conditions.

According to SDG&E, communities that could be impacted by a Public Safety Power Shutoff are:

  • A section east of Alpine along the I-8
  • Areas along the I-8 between Pine Valley and Boulevard, before Jacumba Hot Springs.
  • Mountain areas near Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
  • Areas along the 79 near Santa Ysabel, Mesa Grande and Julian
  • East of the I-15 near Rainbow and north of Pala

Strong Santa Ana winds are expected to blow across San Diego County through at least Wednesday, reaching its peak on Monday. According to the National Weather Service, the gusty eastern winds paired with low humidity could create a “critical” potential for wildfires.

“The weather is tricky, because it was just kind of drizzling, kind of cool and here we are in dangerous fire weather,” Cal Fire San Diego County Cpt. Brent Pascua told FOX 5 on Sunday. “It’s been hot, dry and really windy, so it can change just like that in San Diego.”

With the high fire risk conditions, SDG&E is reminding its customers of two important safety tips during high wind events:

  • Secure any loose items outside of your home, including patio furtniture.
  • Do not touch downed power lines, and call 911 to report if a power line is down.

“The best way to prepare for these Santa Ana winds is to have that defensible space, have that home hardening done year-round,” Pascua said. “We’ve got to be smart about things that create sparks or heat. If we’re towing a trailer, sometimes people will drag a chain (and) that will create sparks. Also barbecuing (can ignite a fire).”