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Wildfires threaten power lines; DWP asks residents to conserve [Updated]

July 30, 2010 | 12:01 pm


With wildfires near Palmdale threatening power lines, the L.A. Department of Water and Power asked residents Friday to reduce their energy usage wherever possible.

“We’re asking people to help care for our infrastructure while this fire is burning, as we wait for the potential threat to diminish,” said Brooks Baker, a spokesman for the agency.

Officials said the agency minimized power imports Friday on a transmission line that passes through the Leona Valley -- where the Crown fire is burning -- and began generating power at in-basin power plants to deliver energy to the city.

“At this time, the power system is functioning normally, and there are no fire-related outages,” Baker said.

[Updated at 1:29 p.m.: With multiple transmission and distribution lines threatened, Edison officials said 21 customers were without service in Lancaster, most of them located south of Elizabeth Lake Road.

Those customers had been without power since about 4:20 p.m. Thursday, and it was unclear when service would be restored, officials said in a statement.

The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's electrical grid, has brought additional generation resources on line in case Edison loses transmission lines.]


Deputy Chief Michael Bryant of the L.A. County Fire Department said both DWP and Edison power lines were threatened, and protecting this “critical infrastructure” was a priority for firefighters battling the blaze.

“These power lines provide the infrastructure for power throughout the state of California,” Bryant said.

By late Friday morning, the Crown fire -- driven by dense fuel, steep slopes and wind -- had consumed around 8,000 acres. Four dwellings and at least half a dozen outbuildings had been destroyed, Bryant said.

-- Ann M. Simmons

Photo: A Los Angeles County Fire helicopter drops water near electric transmission lines Friday as the Crown Fire burns through a main electrical grid for Southern California in the hills west of Palmdale. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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