PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland General Electric turned off the power for roughly 5,000 customers near Mt. Hood Monday evening, a preemptive measure to prevent wildfires.
The temporary outage impacts customers along Highway 26 and comes after a week of dry weather was followed by high wind warnings on Monday. The Public Safety Power Shutoff plan effects around 4,000 residential customers and 800 business customers from Brightwood to Government Camp, according to utility officials. Residents in the area were notified of the shut off by an emergency alert from PGE shortly after 7 p.m.
This is the first time PGE has taken a preemptive action of this kind.
Officials estimated that the outage will last between 24 to 48 hours, but is contingent upon wind and weather conditions. Once the winds die down, technicians will have to physically inspect the power lines and check for damage or debris to remove before power can be restored. More information, including the interactive map and FAQs, here.
PGE officials said a Public Safety Center will be set up at Welches Elementary School on Tuesday. Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. community members can go there to get their questions answered. Ice, drinks, snacks, and bathrooms will also be available.
Elsewhere in PGE’s coverage area, dozens of outages were listed on its interactive map online as high winds downed power lines. Customers without power numbered in the tens of thousands.
Later Monday evening, PGE tweeted that crews were “working to restore power to approximately 49,000 customers.” Additionally, the utility company said that their online outage map was temporarily down. However, customers can still report outages by calling 503-464-7777 or 800-544-1795.
There has been a high fire danger, with high wind warnings active across the Portland Metro area, reaching as far east as The Dalles. By Monday afternoon, the wind made a dramatic shift east, bringing in smoke from wildfires and causing dust storms further east.
High Wind Warning: Monday 5 PM – Tuesday 1 PM. Greater Portland Metro Areathe brown color below. 15-25 MPH Gusts up to 45 MPH. Gusts up to 60 MPH possible on higher Terrain.
Red Flag Warning: Monday 11 AM – Wednesday 8 PM. NW Oregon and SW Washington. Relative Humidity below 15% and strong easterly winds. Outdoor burning is not recommended. Please be very careful.
KOIN 6 News will continue to update this story throughout the evening.