Southern California residents appeared to escape moderately high winds on Sunday, Oct. 29, with only a series of minor incidents including small brush fires, falling tree branches and traffic crashes in a storm that is expected to last through at least late Monday night.
Southern California Edison pre-emptively shut off electricity to thousands of customers to prevent brush fires caused by downed power lines, and yet several small fires were blamed on line failures.
Kathleen Dunleavy, an Edison spokesperson, said the utility expected high winds in portions of Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura and Kern counties. As of 5:30 p.m., Edison had shut off electricity to more than 14,000 customers in those counties “as a last resort.”
“We’re still watching those areas very closely,” Dunleavy said.
A National Weather Service high-wind warning encompasses Riverside, San Bernardino, LA and Ventura counties and is expected to last through 10 p.m. Monday. The Santa Ana winds blowing in from the east are expected to result in single-digit humidity and increase the danger of fires spreading rapidly.
For the Inland Empire, winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts of 50 to 65 mph are forecast, along with isolated gusts to 75 mph in the passes and canyons. Eastern LA County and coastal Ventura County should expect winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. Isolated gusts to 60 mph are possible in the hills.
High winds in Riverside caused a huge tree branch to snap and fall on two parked cars on Warren Street.
The wind caused a Riverside Public Utilities power line to fail and touch off a brush fire that burned two outbuildings before it was contained to four backyards on Basswood Avenue in Riverside.
Also in the city, a palm tree near newly installed high-volume transmission lines caught fire. The wind sent embers from a dead palm frond into the BF Goodrich complex on Arlington Avenue, Battalion Chief Bruce Vanderhorst said. The contents of a large trash bin caught fire, as did a roof.
Vanderhorst said burning palm trees are particularly dangerous because embers can fly up to a half mile.
No injuries were reported in either of the fires.
In Jurupa Valley, fallen Edison power lines prompted the temporary closure of Van Buren Boulevard between Limonite Avenue and Jurupa Road.
San Bernardino County
Wind overturned a semi-truck along the westbound 210 Freeway just before the 15 Freeway. The driver reportedly was not injured.
There was a 2-acre fire in Bloomington, said Eric Sherwin, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
“Fortunately, we had very little fire activity,” Sherwin said.
A brush fire that was reported around 3:20 p.m. on Regency Lane and Osterman Road in Lake Forest drew several helicopters and an estimated 115 Orange County Fire Authority firefighters, Capt. Blane Morgan said. The crews knocked it down at 2 acres.
OCFA had increased its staffing in preparation for the winds, including an additional 24-hour helicopter and hand crew, an additional bulldozer and dispatcher and five more fire engines through 8 p.m. Monday. Also, all reserve stations are staffed.
Los Angeles County
Crews chased down several small brush fires.
In West Hills, it took 72 firefighters about 90 minutes to put out a 5-acre fire.
In North Hollywood, firefighters jumped on five separate spot fires along a 1.5-mile stretch of the Hollywood Freeway. No injuries or damage to buildings were reported.
Due to ongoing Santa Ana wind conditions, the city of Los Angeles said Sunday it is extending Red Flag No Parking restrictions in brush areas until 8 a.m. Tuesday. A list featuring the real-time status of temporary street parking restrictions and addresses affected is at LAFD.org/RedFlag
Staff Writer Mona Darwish and City News Service contributed to this report.
Source: Orange County Register