Protecting people, property and natural environments.
Even in historically wet, mild Oregon, summers are getting hotter and dryer, with longer wildfire seasons, and the overall risk of wildfires is increasing. As we saw in September 2020, wildfires can hit suddenly and grow quickly. The plans we had in place before those fires helped us do our part to reduce risk, and we’re continuing our proactive work prior to next summer’s wildfire season. 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.
You also have an important role, particularly if you’re in an area that is at higher risk for wildfire. There are a few important things you should do:
Create a line of defense around your property by clearing flammable trees and plants away from your home.
Use medical life-support equipment? Have a plan in place and consider a backup generator in case of an extended power outage.
For our part, we’ve intensified our existing protections and our extensive planning and coordination with partners. We are taking proactive, comprehensive action to keep our system wildfire-safe. That includes:
Expanding our program to trim and remove more trees and shrubs 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 and modifying or replacing poles and other 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.
Partnering with groups like the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, local tribes, fire districts and emergency responders to coordinate wildfire responses and keep the public informed if incidents occur.
Training our line crews on basic wildfire awareness and suppression. 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.
Turning off power is a last-resort safety precaution. In the event we need to call a Public Safety Power Shutoff (or PSPS), we will work to minimize the number of customers affected and the amount of time they are without power. And, we will of course keep customers informed of what is 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.