Even in historically wet, mild Oregon, summers are getting hotter and dryer with longer wildfire seasons, and the overall risk of wildfires is increasing. Because the electrical grid has the potential to cause wildfires, we’re doing more now to reduce the risk later, and keep you – and Oregon – safe.
Preventing wildfire is a shared commitment, and we’re working with local, state and federal land and emergency management agencies to ensure we’re all doing all we can.
For our part, we’ve intensified our existing protections and are taking proactive, comprehensive action to keep our system wildfire-safe. That includes:
Expanding our vegetation management program to trim and remove more trees and shrubs that are overgrown, dead, dying or showing growth defects that could impact overhead power lines. We’re also inspecting these areas more frequently.
We do this proactive work in addition to our normal, robust line-clearing and tree trimming work you’re used to seeing as we manage more than 2 million trees along 12,000 miles of overhead power lines.
Inspecting poles and other equipment and replacing or modifying equipment to reduce the risk that it will spark.
For example, we’re installing more fire-resistant, metal poles and fiberglass cross-arms.
Adjusting settings on certain protection equipment so that, during fire season, it doesn’t automatically re-close, potentially creating sparks.
Instead, during fire season, crews will visually inspect the equipment. This could cause slightly longer outages while the crews perform this work, but this manual process will help protect lives and property.
Replacing or modifying equipment in higher-risk areas so that it can better withstand fires.
Partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, local fire districts and emergency responders to coordinate wildfire responses and keep the public informed if incidents occur.
Training our line crews on basic firefighting. We’ll leave the true firefighting to the professionals, but with this training, our crews will know what to do if a fire ignites at their work scene and can help prevent it from escalating to an even more dangerous situation.
If you’re in a high-risk area, there are several things you can do:
Please sign in to your PGE account online and make sure your contact information is up to date. That includes your email and mobile phone number, so we can reach you with notifications during an emergency. If you have special medical requirements, call us at 800-542-8818 and ask about adding a medical certificate to your account record so we’re aware of your needs.
Just as we’re clearing brush and trees away from power lines, it’s important for you to create a line of defense around your property by clearing flammable trees and plants away from your home.
You should also have a plan for how you and your family will stay safe from wildfire. Get information from the National Fire Protection Association .
Turning off power would be a last-resort decision for us – and we would only do it as a safety precaution. We would also work to minimize the number of customers affected and minimize the amount of time they would be without power. And, we would of course make sure to keep customers informed of what was happening and what to expect from us.
To address the ongoing risk of wildfires we’ll continue our commitment to preventive action and planning, and to continually evolve our response as the risk evolves. We’ll do this in partnership with other agencies and the Oregon Public Utility Commission, the group responsible for making sure PGE is watching out for customers when it comes to utility services.
If you have any questions about our wildfire safety projects, please call us at 800-542-8818.
Para obtener información en español, por favor llame al 800-542-8818.