Pacific Gas and Electric Co. recently shared the progress it has made in partnership with customers, community leaders and first responders to reduce wildfire risks and improve safety following the 2017 statewide wildfires and in response to the ever-growing wildfire threat in California.
Launched in late March 2018, the company's Community Wildfire Safety Program has developed and implemented additional precautionary measures intended to further reduce wildfire threats and strengthen communities for the future. These new safety measures are more critical than ever given the dramatically increasing and devastating wildfires the state has experienced during both the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons.
"The wildfire threat facing our state is real and growing," said Pat Hogan, PG&E senior vice president of electric operations. "We at PG&E are focused on doing everything possible to help reduce the wildfire risk through our Community Wildfire Safety Program. Now, and in the years ahead, we are determined to do everything we can to address this growing threat and stay ahead of the changing climate so we can help keep our customers and communities safe."
PG&E's wildfire safety efforts fall into three main areas: bolstering wildfire prevention and emergency response, putting in place new and enhanced safety measures, and doing more over the longer term to strengthen the electric system and improve resiliency.
To fulfill these goals, PG&E has embarked on several safety initiatives, including the establishment of the Wildfire Safety Operations Center to monitor risks in real time and coordinate prevention and response efforts, and the Public Safety Power Shutoff program, in which power may be turned off for safety as a last resort during extreme fire danger conditions.
PG&E has also expanded and accelerated its wildfire safety vegetation work in extreme fire-threat areas to address vegetation within 12 feet of distribution lines, as well as branches and limbs that overhang the 12-foot safety clearance zone. This critical safety work also involves addressing hazardous, dead and dying trees that could come into contact with power lines.
By The Numbers
- 24/7: round-the-clock staffing of a new Wildfire Safety Operations Center during wildfire season
- 130: miles of cleared vegetation around power lines in neighborhoods and communities that face the most extreme wildfire threat, under new accelerated wildfire safety work
- 100+: new weather stations installed, gathering additional data to better predict where extreme wildfire danger could occur
- 200: new weather stations expected to be installed by the end of 2018
- 9: new early fire detection cameras in high fire-threat areas within PG&E's service area, with more to come
- 350+: informational and collaborative meetings with city and county officials, critical service providers, emergency response partners and other community leaders
- 570,000+: homes and businesses in high-fire threat areas contacted by letter or email about Public Safety Power Shutoff and steps they can take to prepare
- 110,000+: customers who have provided updated contact information in order to receive wildfire safety alerts