Thousands of Southern California Edison customers remained without power Friday morning as ongoing gusty winds and red flag warnings have officials concerned about an increased risk of sparking wildfires.

More than 8,600 customers in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and Kern counties were experiencing outages as of 12:30 p.m., according to the utility’s website.

That’s about half the number of customers who were without power as of about noon.

SCE outage breakdown:

  • Los Angeles County – 2,296 customers
  • San Bernardino County – 1,316 customers
  • Ventura County – 462 customers
  • Kern County –  4,533 customers

The company is considering cutting power to about 47,000 more customers if weather conditions require.

The outages began Thursday and are part of the utility’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program, designed to reduce the risk that electrical systems become a point of ignition for a wildfire.

Fire danger remains elevated Friday due to dry conditions and gusty winds, according to the National Weather Service.

A red flag warning is in place until 6 p.m. Saturday for parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Red flag warnings in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties expire at 6 p.m. Friday.

Some of the strongest winds are expected Friday morning, according to the Weather Service. Wind gusts up to 50 to 65 mph are forecast in the mountain regions and 40 to 50 mph in the valley areas.

Edison has stated that contact between tree branches and utility equipment near Cogswell Dam may have sparked the Bobcat Fire in September. That fire scorched about 115,00 acres and destroyed dozens of homes.

The company hopes that shutting off power in select areas on windy days will prevent future fires from starting under similar conditions.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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