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Increased weekend fire risk puts some people in the Santa Cruz Mountains on edge

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. (KION-TV)- Some concerns in the Santa Cruz Mountains because of that red flag warning lasting through the weekend.

A breeze could be felt in Scotts Valley on Friday. But with a red flag warning in place, Santa Cruz county leaders said they're expecting high wind conditions. County leaders are also urging people to avoid using equipment that could spark or any open flame activity.

“We want people to remain vigilant with or without their power,” said Dave Reid, the Director of the Office of Response, Recovery, and Resilience. “Communication resources should be fully charged.

Hopefully, they have backup power or backup batteries for their cell phones. We're going to be making sure we're communicating with folks as much as we can.”

But the warning is something that puts Shirley Meakin on edge.

“Be aware of it and watch the weather,” said Meakin, “but it hasn't been very windy or dry today.”

Meakin's lived in Scotts Valley since 1982. She told KION, that during red flag warnings, she's lost power.

“We live in the mountains so we have a generator,” said Meakin. “We definitely have supplies and stuff.”

Reid said while the recent wet weather is helpful, people should still stay vigilant. 

“We don’t want the community to get complacent,” said Reid. “We want to make sure that they're paying attention to communication. Listening to the radio and the news, just keeping an eye out on their community.”

reid adds that people should be prepared for localized outages. This is due to PG&E's enhanced power safety settings. 

“What it does is that if there's a tree branch that gets blown and knocked off during the wind it lands on the powerline” explains Reid “and if it does so in such a way it could create a spark, the powerline is shut off within a millisecond.”

Meakin said she tries to stay prepared and listens for the alerts and warnings that come down. 

KION checked in with PG&E if there are going to be plans for a possible public safety power shut-off event. The utility company said it's not forecasting a need for a PSPS.

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Ana Torrea

Weekend Anchor/Reporter for KION News Channel 5/46


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