Southern California Edison set up a mobile charging station at Girsh Park this weekend to serve customers inconvenienced by a power safety shutdown.
The National Weather Service issued a fire weather advisory on Friday. Meteorologists increased the advisory to a red flag warning at 8:38 a.m. on Saturday due to gusty winds and low relative humidity. The red flag warning was effective through 9:09 a.m. Sunday.
The South Coast, including Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria, were included in the warning, along with San Marcos Pass, San Rafael Wilderness Area, and the Dick Smith Wilderness Area.
“We’re still expecting wind gusts 40 to 55 mph in the late afternoon and early evening today (Sunday) and Monday, but humidity has increased enough to determine red flag warning is not necessary,” said NWS meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie.
In Santa Barbara County, a red flag warning is issued when relative humidity hits 15 percent or less with sustained winds greater than 25 mph or gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph. The conditions must be forecast to last six hours or more. The warning will also be issued if relative humidity dips under 10 percent with sustained winds over 15 mph or gusts over 25 mph for more than six hours.
Ms. Hoxsie said the sundowner winds blew in from the northeast and west. As they worked their way down the canyons toward the coast, they became hotter due to pressure. That pressure heated air coupled with dry conditions created a threat of fire.
In response to that threat, Edison shut down power for 632 customers in unincorporated areas of west Goleta and near Gaviota to Point Conception.
According to an Edison news release, the power went off at 8:30 p.m. Saturday evening. Edison officials said power was scheduled to be restored by 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Edison set up the mobile charging station around the same time the power was shut down on Saturday. Edison Grid Resilience Senior Project Manager Cameron McPherson said around 10 people used the charging station from Saturday evening through Sunday morning.
The truck had 20 USB charging ports for cellphones as well as outlets for computers and other personal electronic devices. An Edison spokesman said the station had one rapid charging port, but the rest charged at the same speed as a wall outlet.
Mr. McPherson added that the station was equipped to provide charging for electric wheelchairs, CPAP machines and other medical devices.
Water and light snacks were provided.
“I think we chose this location (Girsh Park) because It’s a known place, safe, well-lit and it’s open,” said Mr. McPherson.