Santa Ana winds to bring fire danger to Southern California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Red flag warnings of extreme fire danger will go into effect on Thanksgiving for a large swath of Southern California as Santa Ana winds develop, forecasters said Wednesday.

Southern California Edison was considering shutting off electricity to more than 76,000 customers in five counties to prevent wildfires from being ignited by wind damage to power lines.

The Santa Anas will affect the region from northwest of Los Angeles down to the Mexico border through the holiday and into the weekend, with timing and strength depending on location, according to the National Weather Service.

Santa Ana winds blow from the interior toward the coast, creating potentially critical fire conditions with the combination of vegetation-withering low humidity and powerful gusts, especially below mountain passes and canyons.

Common in the fall but possible at other times, the winds have fanned many catastrophic wildfires.

Southern California Edison's public safety power shutoff website showed blackouts were under consideration for about 42,000 customers in San Bernardino County, nearly 16,000 in Los Angeles County, more than 12,000 in Ventura County, 4,400 in Riverside County and about 1,500 in Kern County. The total is about 1.5% of SCE’s 5 million customers.

California has already experienced a disastrous year of wildfires that have left 31 people dead and some 10,400 structures damaged or destroyed.