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Utilities Officials To Outline Power Shutoff Plans In Santa Barbara County During High Fire Danger

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The potential for brush fires triggered by high wind conditions which can damage power lines has prompted the state’s two major suppliers to develop emergency power shutoff plans. PG & E and Southern California Edison officials will be in Santa Barbara County Tuesday to outline their guidelines for implementing shutoffs should conditions warrant in high fire risk areas.

There are criteria used for the decision, including things like Red Flag Warnings for high fire danger issued by the National Weather Service, humidity levels below 20%, and sustained winds above 25 miles an hour. But, electric companies make the final decisions on when to take the action.

The shutdowns can create their own challenges, because people will be left without power for their homes, affecting everything from air conditioning to refrigerators. Details of the plans will be presented at Tuesday’s Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Maria.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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