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PGE Works With Community Partners In Pacific Northwest As Part Of Wildfire Mitigation Efforts

Sept. 12, 2023
The collaboration helps PGE to work with public agencies and support customers and communities during fire season.

As part of Portland General Electric’s year-round wildfire mitigation efforts, wildfire technology resources and geospatial data is shared with federal, state, tribal and local governments, including fire agencies across PGE’s service area. These resources include data from PGE’s Geographic Information System, wildfire cameras and weather stations.

This first-of-its-kind collaboration in the Pacific Northwest allows PGE to work more closely with public agencies to support customers and communities during fire season. It also gives first responders and fire managers access to innovative wildfire mitigation technology resources available to aid them in their efforts around wildfire mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

Here are a few examples of what PGE shares with public agencies to support wildfire mitigation efforts.

Video feed of PGE’s remote wildfire cameras across its service area

PGE’s Wildfire Mitigation & Resiliency team shares the feeds from currently 30 wildfire cameras — 33 by the end of the year — with a number of fire and emergency services agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshal, tribes, state and local dispatch centers, as well as county and city emergency managers.

The remote cameras, which cover PGE’s High Fire Risk Zones (HFRZ), use an artificial intelligence platform to detect wildfire smoke, increase accuracy in identifying the location of smoke, and provide real-time notifications, including text messages and emails. In the past, fire crews had to drive around looking for the source of the smoke.Now, in areas with camera installations, these cameras can share a Google Map pin that takes crews directly to the location.

Geographic Information System data

PGE’s Geographic Information System (GIS), Asset Management Analytics and Wildfire Operations Program Management teams have published a web service that provides emergency responders with the location of PGE’s facilities and equipment such as overhead and underground circuits and structures, as well as communications towers, wildfire cameras and weather stations.

Knowing what assets belong to PGE enables first responders and incident management teams to identify which utility to contact for emergency and fire-planning purposes. On larger fires managed by a state or federal incident management team, GIS specialists can create more detailed maps with these electrical facilities’ locations. This can be particularly useful, not only for the safety of firefighters, but also used in developing flight plans for helicopter pilots, and planning where bulldozers should and shouldn’t dig fire lines.

Weather stations in PGE’s High Fire Risk Zones

PGE publicly shares the feeds from 78 weather stations across PGE’s service area. These stations, located in PGE’s HFRZ and strategic locations outside of HFRZ, actively collect information that PGE's teams use to make informed decisions in support of wildfire risk management and Public Safety Power Shutoffs. The weather stations can be accessed here:

National Weather Service (NWS) Weather & Hazards (noaa.gov) PGE: when a station is clicked on, any station's name ending with a "-PN" is a PGE weather station.

MesoWest Surface Weather Maps (utah.edu) PGE: make sure the network selected on the left-hand side is "Utilities.”  These are stations owned by any utility company.

PGE works closely with public safety partners, tribes, local communities, and other key stakeholders to support customers and communities during fire season and prepares year-round to protect people, property and natural environments.

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