Powerful Santa Ana winds hit Los Angeles Monday overnight, fanning a wildfire in the foothills 20 miles northwest of downtown and leaving thousands of electrical customers without power. Initial reports from Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) indicated no major outages on the area system.
A SoCalGas spokesperson confirmed that its Los Angeles-based gas-only utility had crews working with fire departments to keep the public safe and minimize service interruptions from the latest blaze, as well as another fire that had developed earlier near the city of Ventura.
On Tuesday as of 10 a.m. PST, crews had shut off service “to about 1,100 customers impacted by the fire in Ventura County,” the SoCalGas spokesperson said. “We are working to minimize service interruptions to our customers, and our crews will restore service as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Tuesday morning Los Angeles County firefighters were battling the 2,500-acre Creek Fire that broke out in the early morning hours off of Little Tujunga Canyon Road in the Sylmar residential section of the city. Authorities ordered evacuations in parts of the Sylmar and Lake View Terrace areas, and at least eight water-dropping helicopters were being deployed in an attempt to slow the fire's progress amid the intense winds.
The winds earlier sparked the Thomas Fire, which swept into Ventura, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, burning 31,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate.
Nearly 150 structures reportedly had been destroyed at midday Tuesday, including a large apartment complex and many other structures were threatened by the blaze that had spread to about a quarter-mile from the Ventura city hall.
Before noon PST, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Ventura County, noting the Thomas Fire had damaged critical infrastructure and destroyed hundreds of homes.
"This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got," said Brown. urging residents to be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice.
The National Weather Service issued a high-wind advisory for Los Angeles through Tuesday and moderate winds through Thursday, prompting the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to advise customers that outages and downed power lines could be widespread, aside from the wildfire's impacts.
"Crews are ready to respond to any outages, and will restore power to impacted areas as quickly and as safely as possible," an LADWP spokesperson said.