By Miriam Raftery
December 7, 2017 (San Diego) -- High winds roaring through San Diego County today have wreaked havoc.
In Carlsbad, a tree fell onto an elderly man and killed him. Santa Ana winds knocked a semi-truck and trailer onto their sides on I-8 east, shortly before high winds forced closure of I-8 east of Alpine. A sign truck was nearly blown off the towering Pine Valley Bridge. In Lakeside the community Christmas tree toppled over; Lakeside's Chamber of Commerce posted a photo on Facebook, vowing to restore it after the winds die down.
Strong winds also led SDG&E to shut off power to thousands of homes in communities across the region, with some slated to be without power for days.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob told ECM, "I'm concerned about any shutoffs because they can pose their own risks to property and life in a crisis, especially in rural areas where fire crews and residents need access to well water. I urge SDG&E to cut power only as a last resort and only if there's the danger of an actual system failure that could ignite a wildfire."
High winds are also whipping flames in the fast-moving Lilac Fire near I-15 and State Route 76 in the Fallbrook Bonsall area. The fire has reached 2,000 acres with zero containment as of 4 p.m.today, forcing shutdowns at vaious times during the day along highways 76, 15, 395 and some surface streets. The blaze has burned at least two structures and sent two people to the hospital with burns.
A map released by the National Weather Service has aded a new purple color designation for the first time, due to the extreme high winds locally. A red flag alert for high fire danger remains in effect until Saturday night, with a high wind warning active until 4 p.m. Friday, when calmer weather is expected.