Protecting people, property and natural environments.
Even in historically wet, mild Oregon, summers are getting hotter and drier, resulting in longer fire seasons and an overall increased risk of wildfires.
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 during this year's fire 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.
We are increasing our efforts to protect the areas around our wires and equipment and taking proactive, comprehensive action to keep our system safe and resilient from wildfire, weather, and disaster-related crises.
Every year, we look at our Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS, zones to assess where we might need enhanced tree and brush clearing and equipment replacements.
We also conduct emergency planning in close partnership with local, state, and federal land and emergency management agencies, to, among other things, expand the use of a PSPS if the need should arise. (What’s a Public Safety Power Shutoff? See below.)
Keeping customers and the communities we serve informed is a priority. Be sure to visit our Wildfire Outages page for a map of the high-risk areas for a PSPS and the most up-to-date information about any PSPS activity throughout the fire season.
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.
We’re 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.
We’re also 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 how to prevent a fire, what to do if a fire ignites at their work site, and what they can do to help prevent it from escalating.
The safety of our customers and community is always our first priority. If extreme weather conditions threaten our ability to safely operate the electrical grid, we will turn off power in certain high-risk areas to help protect public safety. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS.
A Public Safety Power Shutoff is a last-resort safety measure. We consider wind speed, temperature, humidity, the dryness of trees and brush, field observations by our crews, as well as information from local fire departments when we’re deciding whether a PSPS is needed.
If we do need to call a PSPS, we work to minimize the number of customers affected and the amount of time they are without power. And, we’ll keep you informed about what is happening and what to expect from us by communicating across a wide range of channels.
As Oregon’s weather gets hotter and drier, wildfires can hit suddenly and grow quickly and create a greater likelihood of summer safety-related power outages. We’re preparing and we encourage you to prepare as well.