The Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility emerged unscathed from a fast moving wildfire that started last week and has consumed nearly 8,000 acres on the northern edge of Los Angeles.
The fire, which was 42% contained as of late Sunday, encroached on the storage field’s borders and led to some active fires within its boundaries. Aliso is California’s largest natural gas storage site.
Utility crews on Saturday conducted an assessment of the 3,600 acre, 86 Bcf storage facility and found no indications of damage.
Aliso, owned by Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) was the site of a major methane leak in 2015 that lasted for months. It is currently operating at a capacity of 34 Bcf due to regulations imposed after that incident.
SoCalGas spokesperson Christine Detz told NGI that the nation's largest gas distribution utility has not been significantly impacted by the fires, except for the evacuation of Aliso personnel. It remains unclear when the storage facility will reopen.
The company continues to “actively monitor” the Saddleridge, Eagle, Sandalwood, Reche and Wolf fires burning in Los Angeles and Riverside counties, Detz said. "SoCalGas field representatives are deployed and assisting firefighters in support of public safety," Detz added.
"In addition, there are no reports of leaks from the facility," said Detz, adding that the utility does not anticipate any damage to Aliso storage wellheads due to the fire. Gas utility service will be restored "quickly and safely" to homes directly affected by the fires as soon as it is safe to do so, she said.
More than 20,000 residences and about 100,000 people in Los Angeles alone were impacted by evacuation orders. The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) said all of the evacuations have been lifted.
“Firefighters will take advantage of lower wind speeds, increasing humidity and decreased temperatures,” LAFD said late Sunday of the high winds that had helped fuel the fire. “This weather will greatly enhance firefighters’ ability to mop up remaining hot spots.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom late last Friday declared an emergency for areas in Southern California impacted by the wildfires.