SCV poses high fire risk, but power shutoff unlikely

Los Angeles County Firefighters and Angeles National Forest Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze that leveled Big Oaks Lodge on Bouquet Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Even during a fire, electricity service to the Santa Clarita Valley will likely be in full or near-full supply, a SoCal Edison representative said Tuesday.

A recent letter from Southern California Edison stated that a public safety power shutoff was possible in extreme fire conditions with high winds. Despite this, there has never been a power shut-off in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“These shut-offs are an absolute last resort, and we don’t want people to be alarmed by this,” said SCE spokesman David Song. “We’re going to be communicating in a transparent and timely way with government agencies, customers, hospitals and fire and police departments.”

Although the SCV is known as a high fire risk area, according to the California Public Utilities Commission’s fire map, SCE has only ever enacted two power shutoffs in the entire service territory, which occupies 9 million acres, Song said.

If a shutoff was necessary, Song said, it also wouldn’t be widespread across the valley.

SCE is currently hosting community meetings throughout its service territory to share more details about its wildfire-safety protocol, such as swapping out wooden poles for fire-resistant composite ones and vegetation management.

“Given the topography and vegetation of the Santa Clarita area, it is very prone to wildfires,” he said. “And those fires are definitely intensifying. Fires are burning longer and hotter, and through more acreage.

“With that being said, we haven’t shut off power there before,” he said. “A lot of our protection measures we’ve been doing for a number of years. We’re just accelerating now because wildfires are getting more intense.”

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