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Planning is urged in advance as wind, power and fire warnings come out

With forecasts calling for stronger winds and dry conditions, utility companies are deciding whether or not to cut off power in critical areas and Central Coast residents are on alert.

Many residents have heeded the warnings and some are getting backup supplies in place.

Business owner Terry McGovern has taken steps to make sure he’s still powered up even if the utilities take down the service as a fire precaution.

“For our business we have purchased a small generator to cover the electronic equipment, the reservation system, to be able to charge phones and lights and the front of the office,” McGovern said. “Other than that we haven’t gone much further at this point”

For those who have special needs, they’ve been asked to contact either Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas and Electric depending on where they live.

Having the power cut as a precaution for hours is a new policy and it’s likely going to take some time to adapt.

“I don’t think they take into consideration all the people that need that power whether they are hooked into a machine of something,” said Kevin Petty, a local worker. “They will have to buy generators.”

He said the latest advisory did not appear to be matching the conditions he saw.

Sometimes fire agencies up-staff and increase their station crew sizes during critical fire conditions.

So far there hasn’t been enough of a weather change but that’s been done in the past and it has been effective to get a jump on vegetation fires when they break out. It was very evident during the Holiday fire in Goleta on July 6, 2018.

For those who are not fluent in English, they say they appreciate emergency messages in Spanish as well.

“Oh yes, because I understand English almost 100 percent but some people do not speak English and they can’t understand it,” said Rose Lopez of Goleta. “It is important when the news is in Spanish.”

Weather conditions are influential in calculating fire dangers, but they do not necessarily cause fires unless, for example, high winds bring down hot power lines in dry brush.

Fire officials say most fires are human caused and they usually can be prevented.

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