Power was cut to 55,000 Colorado customers amid high winds to prevent wildfires

A power company in Colorado announced on Saturday About 55,000 customers were without power due to wildfire concerns, as powerful winds, gusting up to 100 miles per hour, lashed the state.

The company, Xcel Energy, said in a statement It “made the decision to prematurely disable” customers primarily in Boulder County and smaller areas of Broomfield, Douglas, Gilpin, Jefferson and Larimer counties.

The shutdown was expected to begin at 3pm local time and last until midday on Sunday. “Crews should physically inspect power lines as outages persist beyond that time frame,” the agency said.

“The temporary power outage is intended to prevent our power system from becoming a source of wildfire ignition,” the company said.

National Weather Service in Boulder, Colo. said on social media Strong winds are expected between 6pm Saturday and 6am Sunday, with wind speeds increasing in the afternoon and evening.

Wind gusts of 80 to 100 mph are expected in and around the foothills, with gusts of 55 to 70 mph in other areas.

The The Storm Prediction Center has warned “The potential for any new fires that form to spread rapidly” was high, and “extremely dangerous fire weather is expected across the Oklahoma Panhandle of southeastern Colorado and parts of southwestern Kansas.”

Parts of five states, including Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas, are under fire warnings, the center said.

More than 77,000 people were in areas considered “extreme”, while more than 2.9 million people were in areas considered “critical”.

The state Department of Transportation has closed a portion of Interstate 70 in Kansas after high winds, low visibility and accidents blocked the highway. said on social media.

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Power outages, downed trees and blowing dust are all expected due to the wind. forecasters said.

People in areas affected by high winds should “avoid any activity that could cause a spark,” and stay indoors if possible. The National Weather Service said.

Xcel Energy said “turning off customers' power is not something we take lightly,” noting that it was a “last resort that could prove to be a life-saving measure.”

“Customers using medical equipment that relies on electrical service should take steps to prepare for extended outages,” the company said.

South Metro Fire Rescue, which serves about 300 square miles of the south metro Denver area, said those relying on oxygen tanks “should be prepared with enough spare bottles until Sunday, or consider staying with family, friends or a hotel outside the planned outage area.”

It also advises against using outdoor stoves indoors for heating or cooking.

“If using a generator, keep it in a well-ventilated area away from windows,” it said.

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