High winds, downed trees cause brush fires, power outages

- High winds and downed trees have knocked out power to about 16,300 customers in various areas of Los Angeles, authorities said Friday. Firefighters also worked to extinguish a 15-acre brush fire in the Santa Clarita area.

A 15-acre brush fire stoked by high winds in the Santa Clarita area Friday was about 10 percent contained.

The fire was reported at about 7:15 a.m. near Newhall Ranch Road and Copper Hill Drive, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

No structures were threatened.

The firefighting effort was continuing some three hours later, but "the forward progress of the fire has been stopped,'' a fire department statement said.

No evacuations were ordered, but the nearby Einstein Academy school voluntarily evacuated, officials said.

Due to power lines in the area, there were some early problems reported using water-dropping aircraft.

"The wind storms typically result in power outages as dried palm fronds, tree branches, downed trees and other debris fall and make contact with power lines,'' Albert Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Department of Water and
Power said.

"LADWP crews are working as diligently and as safely as possible under these heavy wind conditions to restore power to customers affected,'' Rodriguez said.

The problem areas included: Northridge, 3,542 customers; East Hollywood, 2,123 customers; Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, 1,916 customers; Exposition Park, 1,427 customers; and Mid-Wilshire, 642 customers.

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