Thousands in Oregon face power interruptions as fire danger ramps up
(KPTV) - Gusty east winds are in the forecast and that is leading to an increase in fire danger. In response, Oregon power companies and firefighters are doing what they can to get ahead of any potential dangers.
Starting Friday, a dry east wind with gusts of up to 50 mph will be accompanied by low humidity, setting up a situation ripe for fire danger, the National Weather Service said.
Gov. Kate Brown was expected to address preparations for the dangerous fire conditions at 3 p.m. Thursday. You can watch it live here.
Pacific Power said it is planning to move ahead with its Public Safety Power Shut off. Residents in parts of Stayton east through the Santiam Canyon, Lebanon, Sweet Home, Lincoln City and Glide should plan for a power outage beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday. The outage is expected to last through Saturday night. Customers should look out for an email, phone call, or text from the company ahead of the planned shutoff.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) are intended to reduce the chance of wildfires during especially hazardous fire weather. Both Portland General Electric and Pacific Power say they are increasingly likely to call for PSPS due to the increased fire danger, and it’s not just in rural areas but in urban areas as well.
PGE put out a map showing areas that may be affected. The utility will monitor conditions and estimates the power shut-off could be called on Friday morning and power could be out through Saturday night.
About 30,000 PGE customers could be affected if the shutoffs occur. The utility will closely monitor conditions and the forecast and will give four hours of notice before turning off power, it said.
A full interactive map of affected areas for PGE is available at the link here. You can check if your home may be affected by visiting the map and entering your address.
Roughly 12,000 Pacific Power customers could be affected by the shutoffs.
A map of affected areas is available at www.pacificpower.net/psps.
For the latest forecast updates from the FOX 12 weather team, click here.
Meanwhile, cities and towns across the region, including the oceanfront city of Seaside, have also instituted burn bans in anticipation of the fire danger that includes beach bonfires and camping fires.
A number of fires are already burning in Oregon. The largest is the Double Creek Fire burning in remote northeastern Oregon along the Idaho border. The Rum Creek Fire in southwest Oregon also threatened homes earlier in the week, but evacuation notices were reduced or eliminated Thursday as firefighters had contained almost half the 33-square mile blaze.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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