Red Flag Warning Expires; Electric Restoration Begins

UPDATED as of Dec. 10, 8 p.m.

The Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service expired at 8 p.m.

As weather conditions improved today, SDG&E commenced ground and aerial patrols of lines to begin safely restoring power to thousands of customers.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, approximately 6,500 customers are currently without power.

On Monday, SDG&E anticipates to FULLY restore the roughly 6,000 remaining customers that were de-energized for public safety during the Red Flag Warning, barring no additional damage is found. 

Power restoration in the fire zone continues for the remaining 400 customers without service.

While assessing for damage in the fire zone, SDG&E crews identified 42 poles that were burned or damaged and need to be replaced. Our plans include upgrading all damaged poles with fire-resistant steel poles with thicker, stronger wire.

A total of 15 poles will be complete by Sunday night with a goal of replacing the remaining damaged poles by Monday night, allowing for full power restoration to all impacted customers in the fire zone by Tuesday.

Crews will continue patrolling power lines on Monday morning, and contract firefighting crews will be accompanying all patrols to ensure a safe restoration process.

When patrolling, crews are looking for safety hazards like downed lines, debris or tree branches caught on the line, broken hardware or issues related to communication wires.

Community resources remain open Monday

SDG&E’s Mobile Command Center continues to provide bottled water to customers and serving as a wi-fi hotspot and device charging resource to the community.

  • Location: Caltrans Park & Ride, 7838 Japatul Valley Road, Descanso (North of the intersection of Highway 79 and Interstate 8).
  • Hours: 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

SDG&E also have a Mobile Command Center in Julian to provide bottled water and snacks. It is also serving as a mobile device charging station. A portable/drinking water truck is also available to assist the community with their livestock.

  • Location: Jess Martin County Park, 2955 Highway 79, Julian 92036
  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 10, 10:30 a.m.

Widespread gusty winds are forecast to reach 40–60 mph throughout the backcountry today. Fuel moisture continues to remain critically low throughout the region creating dangerous fire conditions for the seventh consecutive day. At SDG&E, we are reminding customers of the possibility of power outages related to high winds and to be prepared to activate their personal emergency plan.

Approximately 9,900 customers are currently without power. That includes roughly 7,800 customers that were proactively de-energized for public safety. Some of these customers are located in parts of Boulder Creek, West Santa Ysabel, Round Potrero, La Posta, Otay Mountain and Crestwood. Additionally, approximately 1,700 remain out within the fire zone area.

SDG&E’s Mobile Command Centers continue to provide bottled water to customers and serve as a wi-fi hotspot and device charging resource to the community. A potable/drinking water truck will also be available at the centers.

  • Location: Caltrans Park & Ride, 7838 Japatul Valley Road, Descanso (North of the intersection of Highway 79 and Interstate 8).
  • Hours: Today (Sunday), between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The second Mobile Command Center will be in Julian to provide bottled water and snacks to customers today and Monday, as well as serving as a mobile device charging station. A potable/drinking water truck will be available to assist the community with livestock needs.

  • Location: Jess Martin County Park, 2955 Highway 79, Julian 92036
  • Hours: Sunday-Monday, between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.<

The American Red Cross has setup a community center (1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos, 92069) as an additional resource for those impacted by the fire. The center is also accepting pets in partnership with San Diego Humane Society.

Once weather conditions improve, SDG&E crews will begin patrolling power lines looking for safety hazards like downed lines, debris or tree branches caught on the line, broken hardware or issues related to communication wires. Once a line has been deemed safe, we will be able to begin restoring power.

To monitor real-time conditions, visit SDG&E’s weather page at sdgeweather.com, as well as our outage page for updated restoration times at sdge.com/outage

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UPDATED as of Dec. 10, 6 a.m.

Widespread gusty winds are expected through the backcountry this morning. We continue to remind customers of the possibility of power outages related to high winds and to be prepared to activate their personal emergency plan.

SDG&E crews started working in the Lilac Fire zone Saturday afternoon and have restored power to nearly 3,700 customers so far.

Approximately 5,600 customers are currently without power. That includes roughly 3,700 customers that SDG&E proactively turned off power for public safety. The customers are located in parts of Alpine, Hell Hole Canyon in Valley Center, Crestwood, Julian, Inaja Park, West Wynola, Dye Mountain, Santa Teresa Valley, Otay Mountain and Witch Creek. Approximately 1,800 affected customers are in the fire zone area.

SDG&E has a Mobile Command Trailer providing bottled water to customers and serving as a wi-fi hotspot and device charging resource to the community.

  • Caltrans Park & Ride, 7838 Japatul Valley Road, Descanso (North of the intersection of Highway 79 and Interstate 8).
  • On Sunday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., a potable/drinking water truck will also be located next to the mobile command center.

A second Mobile Command Center will be in Julian to provide bottled water and snacks to customers today and Monday, as well as serving as a mobile device charging station. A potable/drinking water truck will also be available to assist the community with their livestock. Customers are asked to not bring livestock to the park.

  • Jess Martin County Park, 2955 Highway 79, Julian 92036
  • On Sunday and Monday, between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

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UPDATED as of Dec. 9, 10 p.m.

SDG&E continues to monitor an extreme weather event with high winds and dry conditions throughout the region, creating dangerous fire conditions. Approximately 5,500 customers are currently without power, which includes about 1,800 within the Lilac Fire zone area. Also included are approximately 3,000 customers who SDG&E proactively turned off power to for public safety.

Gusty winds are expected to continue in parts of the county through the night, and increasing tomorrow morning.

Because power outages are more likely during windy conditions, we are encouraging customers to be prepared with flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-operated radio  and a phone that does not require electricity.

We are also reminding customers to always be aware of the potential for downed power lines due to the winds. Never touch a downed power line and assume that all electrical lines are energized at all times. Call 911 or SDG&E to report a downed power line.

To monitor SDG&E’s weather page for real-time updates on conditions visit sdgeweather.com, as well as our outage page for updated restoration times at sdge.com/outage

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UPDATED as of Dec. 9, 3 p.m.

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, approximately 14,500 customers have been fully restored. Restoration in the fire zone began at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with nearly 800 customers restored so far.

Approximately 6,500 customers are without power. That includes approximately 2,800 customers that SDG&E proactively turned off power to today for public safety. The customers are located in parts of Alpine, Hell Hole Canyon in Valley Center, Crestwood, Julian, Inaja Park, West Wynola, Dye Mountain, Santa Teresa Valley and Witch Creek.

  • The remaining approximate 3,660 customers are in the fire zone area.

SDG&E has a Mobile Command Trailer providing bottled water to customers and serving as a wi-fi hotspot and device charging resource to the community. The Mobile Command Trailer will be open until 9 p.m. tonight.

  • Caltrans Park & Ride, Lot 29, 7838 Japatul Valley Road, Descanso, CA (North of the Intersection of Highway 79 and Interstate 8).
  • On Sunday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., a potable/drinking water truck will also be located next to the mobile command center.

The American Red Cross is stationed at two Community Centers:

  • El Cajon: Bostonia Park & Recreation Center (1049 Bostonia Street, El Cajon).
  • San Marcos: Palomar College (1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos).

SDG&E continues to monitor an extreme weather event with high winds and dry conditions throughout the region, creating dangerous fire conditions.

We continue to remind customers of the possibility of power outages related to high winds and to be prepared to activate their personal emergency plan.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 9, 11:30 a.m.

SDG&E continues to monitor an extreme weather event with high winds and dry conditions throughout the region, creating dangerous fire conditions. Moderate strength Santa Ana winds in the backcountry this morning will become locally strong tonight into Sunday. High winds are expected to continue throughout much of Southern California until 4 p.m. Sunday. 

We are proactively notifying customers in areas affected by today’s high winds that they may be subject to the possibility of power outages and to be prepared to activate their personal emergency plan.

As of 10:45 a.m., approximately 12,700 customers have been fully restored after SDG&E crews safely patrolled nearly 1,200 miles of power lines serving areas including East Ramona, Otay Mesa, Sunrise Highway, Warner Springs, Viejas and Pala Mesa.

Approximately 5,800 customers are without power.

  • Approximately 4,400 are in the fire zone and we are not able to re-energize our facilities.
  • Approximately 1,400 are due to proactive shut off outside of fire. The majority of these customers were de-energized this morning.

To help during this time, we are offering free water, wi-fi and cell phone charging at SDG&E’s mobile operation center located at the Park & Ride lot on Japatul Valley Road in Descanso, just north of the intersection of Highway 79 and Interstate 8.

Currently, American Red Cross shelters open for those affected by the planned power outages are located at:

  • Palomar College (1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos, 92069) (Also accepting pets in partnership with San Diego Humane Society)
  • Bostonia Park and Recreation Center (1049 Bostonia Street, El Cajon, CA 92021) (Accepting pets in partnership with City of El Cajon Animal Control)

We encourage customers who live in the areas where the high winds are forecast to be strongest to monitor SDG&E’s weather page for real-time updates on conditions at sdgeweather.com, as well as our outage page for updated restoration times at sdge.com/outage.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 9, 4 a.m.

SDG&E is continuing an extensive restoration process after power was shut off for safety concerns. As weather conditions improved in some areas of the County, SDG&E started ground and aerial patrols of lines yesterday/Friday as a first step towards safely restoring power to thousands of customers.

At this time (4 a.m.), approximately 12,650 customers have been fully restored after SDG&E crews safely patrolled nearly 1,200 miles of power lines serving areas including Alpine, East Ramona, Otay Mesa, Sunrise Highway, Warner Springs, Viejas and Pala Mesa.

Approximately 4,500 customers remain de-energized.

Once the sun comes up, all available crews will be assigned to patrol power lines with plans of restoring thousands of customers.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 8, 11:45 p.m.

SDG&E field crews continue to work through the night to restore power to thousands of customers.  As of 11:45 p.m., nearly 12,200 customers have their power back after crews patrolled hundreds of miles of power lines.

Approximately 5,000 customers remain without power – some who were de-energized for safety concerns in areas that had experienced some of the strongest wind gusts, and others in the area of the Lilac Fire.

Eight SDG&E crews are scheduled to begin repairs first thing in the morning of about 15-20 poles damaged in the Lilac Fire. All damaged poles in the affected area will be replaced with fire-resistant steel poles with thicker, stronger wire.

We appreciate your continued patience, as our crews work safely to restore power.|

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UPDATED as of Dec. 8, 9 p.m.

SDG&E has made additional progress in restoring power to our customers. As of 7 p.m., we have safely restored power to nearly 11,500 customers after patrolling the power lines serving portions of Alpine, East Ramona, Otay, Sunrise Highway, Viejas and Pala Mesa.

By 1 a.m. Saturday, grid operators expect to restore an additional 2,100 customers bringing the total to nearly 14,000.

About 9,400 customers remain de-energized for safety in some areas that have experienced some of the strongest wind gusts.

Initial assessments in the Lilac Fire area indicated that 15-20 poles were damaged. Eight SDG&E crews will begin repairs first thing in the morning and fully expect to complete the work the same day. All damaged poles in the affected areas will be replaced with fire-resistant steel poles with thicker, stronger wire.

Thanks for your patience, as our crews work to restore power safely.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 8, 3:30 p.m.

SDG&E continues to make steady progress to safely restore power for its customers. As of 3:30 p.m., approximately 6,000 customers have been fully restored after SDG&E crews safely patrolled power lines serving these customers. The restoration process includes recording reduced wind speeds for a sustained period, then allowing 4-8 hours of daylight for SDG&E crews to patrol the line deeming it safe.

Approximately 11,000 customers remain de-energized for safety in some of the areas that have seen some the strongest wind gusts.

Over the next few hours, SDG&E anticipates restoring a substantial number of its remaining customers.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 8, 2:00 p.m.
 

SDG&E is in the process of proactively calling customers alerting them that their service has been restored.

As of 1 p.m., approximately 4,042 customers have been fully restored after SDG&E crews safely patrolled power lines serving portions of Alpine, Bonsall and Rainbow.

Over the next 24 hours, SDG&E anticipates to restore a substantial number of its remaining customers. 

SDG&E has over 110 operation personnel patrolling and assessing facilities for damage all over the County. If needed, we have an additional 70 contract tree trimming crews on stand-by that can be available at a moment’s notice.

SDG&E has deployed one of its Mobile Command Trailers in the East county that will provide water to customers and serve as a wi-fi hotspot and device charging resource to the community.

  • Caltrans Park & Ride, Lot 29, 7838 Japatul Valley Road, Descanso, CA (North of the Intersection of Highway 79 and Interstate 8)

It’s important to remember that improved weather conditions is not the only factor that determines a line safe to re-energize. Restoring power to customers can be a long process, but safety remains the top priority.

As we continue to restore power to our customers throughout the day, please check SDG&E’s outage website for additional updates.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 8, 12:35 p.m.

At SDG&E, the restoration process has begun. With weather conditions improving in some areas of the County, SDG&E has started ground and aerial patrols of lines as a first step towards safely restoring power to thousands of customers.

SDG&E has also received clearance from fire agencies to begin assessing our facilities for damage in the areas affected by the Lilac Fire.

When it comes to restoring power, it’s all-hands-on-deck. All available crews, including gas technicians, have been assigned to patrol power lines throughout the day with plans of restoring thousands of customers.

As of 11 a.m., approximately 2,200 customers have been fully restored after SDG&E crews safely patrolled power lines serving portions of Alpine, Pala and Rainbow.

Over the next 24 hours, SDG&E anticipates to restore a substantial number of its remaining customers. 

As we continue to restore power to our customers, please check our outage website for additional updates at sdge.com/outages.

  • 15,000 customers remain de-energized for safety in some of the areas that have seen some the strongest wind gusts.
  • Some of the communities affected are portions of Live Oak Springs, Boulevard, Jacumba, Japatul Valley, Buckman Springs, Morena Village, West Descanso, Boulder Creek, Valley Center, Rincon, Pauma Valley, Rincon La Jolla Indian Reservation, Hell Hole Canyon, La Jolla Reservation, Mesa Grande, Santa Isabel, Palomar Mountain and Lake Henshaw.

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UPDATED as of Dec. 8, 6:45 a.m.

Restoration may begin today for some of the approximately 17,000 customers who were de-energized yesterday. San Diego Gas & Electric proactively shut off power for safety concerns in areas that had seen some of the strongest wind gusts in San Diego County.

With weather conditions improving, SDG&E field crews are expected to begin aggressively patrolling lines today as a first step towards safely restoring power to thousands of customers. Once field crews deem the lines are safe—meaning there are no lines down, or debris or tree branches caught on a line, or broken hardware or issues related to communication wires—we can begin re-energizing customers. With safety as our number one priority, this process could take several hours.

Due to current conditions in some areas, power may remain out for several days for some customers before it can be safely restored.

Some of the communities affected by Thursday’s power shut off include portions of Live Oak Springs, Boulevard, Jacumba, Japatul Valley, Buckman Springs, Morena Village, West Descanso, Boulder Creek, Valley Center, Rincon, Pauma Valley, Rincon La Jolla Indian Reservation, Hell Hole Canyon, La Jolla Reservation, Mesa Grande, Santa Isabel, Palomar Mountain and Lake Henshaw. 

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UPDATED as of Dec. 8, 5 a.m.

Just one day after bringing the Erickson Aircrane back to the county due the high fire risk weather conditions, CAL FIRE dispatched the massive helitanker to the Lilac Fire in the Bonsall area.

In a matter of hours, the Aircrane completed 20 drops on the Lilac Fire, Thursday afternoon, dousing the flames with more than 30,000 gallons of water. The Aircrane is ready to be deployed again on Friday to provide aerial firefighting support.

The helitanker is capable of dropping 2,650 gallons of water or fire suppressant in a single drop—equivalent to the carrying capacity of five fire engines. SDG&E secured the return of the Aircrane during this week’s extended Red Flag Warning. For the past eight years, SDG&E has partnered with San Diego County to station the Aircrane in the region from October through November.

The Aircrane can refill its tanks in 45 seconds and be airborne within 15 minutes of being requested. Prior to the outbreak of the Lilac Fire, the Aircrane had already played a crucial role in fighting 11 fires in the region this year, dropping more than 92,000 gallons of water to protect our communities.

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Thursday, December 7:

Extreme weather conditions continue to create the potential for dangerous fire conditions throughout the region. With a Red Flag Warning in effect until Sunday at 8 p.m., SDG&E’s Emergency Operations Center remains activated to monitor conditions including the Lilac Fire, and other high fire risk areas of the county.

According to our team of meteorologists, weather conditions have been trending on target with the highest wind gust reaching 88 mph near Descanso Thursday morning. Due to the conditions, including high winds and dry conditions, as of 7 p.m. SDG&E has turned off power for safety to approximately 17,000 customers in the areas experiencing the strongest wind gusts.

Some of the communities affected are portions of Santa Ysabel, Japatul Valley, Buckman Springs, Boulder Creek, Valley Center, Green Valley Falls, Viejas, Pine Hills, Mount Laguna and Descanso. Current conditions indicate that power may remain out for several days before it can be safely restored. Customers can find updated restoration times at sdge.com/outage.

While we proactively called customers in the affected areas to alert them of the possibility of power outages, we continue to encourage all customers to be prepared with flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-operated radio and a phone that doesn’t require electricity.

How the restoration process works

Once weather conditions have improved, SDG&E field personnel will need to fully patrol each line to deem it safe to re-energize. It’s important to remember that improved weather conditions are not the only factor that determines a line safe to re-energize. Restoring power to customers can be a long process, but safety remains our number one priority.

The restoration process includes recording reduced wind speeds for a sustained period, then allowing 4-8 hours of daylight for SDG&E field crews to patrol an entire span of a line. Crews that are patrolling are looking for safety hazards like downed lines, debris or tree branches caught on the line, broken hardware or issues related to communication wires.

It’s difficult to predict how long a patrol might take given the varied length of each power line, the terrain, and whether aerial patrols are required. Some circuits are located in rural, mountainous areas that require a helicopter to patrol. In those cases, wind speeds need to be below 35 mph for the helicopter to fly safely.

Looking ahead

According to the latest forecasts, high winds are expected through Sunday. At SDG&E, we take our responsibility to safely operate the system very seriously. If conditions continue to threaten the integrity of our system, we will turn off the power to protect the public. Because of the conditions we are experiencing, it is a real possibility that we will have to turn off power due to safety concerns for additional customers over the next couple days.

For real-time updates on conditions, monitor SDG&E’s weather page at sdgeweather.com.