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PG&E, CAL FIRE Partner to Reduce Wildfire Risk Safe Outdoor Equipment and Vehicle Use Key to Preventing Fires

Release Date: July 1, 2014
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

San Francisco, Calif.— Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and CAL FIRE today announced a partnership to help stop wildfires before they start in California. CAL FIRE’s ‘One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire’ public safety campaign is a multi-agency effort to minimize the frequency, size and cost of wildfires started by human ignition. PG&E is joining the campaign by reminding its 22,000 employees and encouraging the 15 million Californians it serves to practice safe outdoor equipment use, and to properly use and maintain all vehicles.

According to CAL FIRE, nearly 90 percent of all wildfires in California are caused by people, often when they are engaged in routine activities. Simple tasks like mowing the lawn, using a weed eater or chain saw can spark a wildland fire. Similarly, driving on worn brakes or on exposed wheel rims while towing can cause the tow chain to spark and ignite a fire.

"At PG&E, there’s nothing more important to us than public safety,” said Barry Anderson, PG&E’s Vice President of Emergency Preparedness and Response. “Wildfires are a huge risk in our service area of Northern and Central California, and PG&E is serious about working with CAL FIRE and other state and local agencies to do our part to reduce that risk—including helping educate our customers about fire safety, operating our own equipment responsibly, and being prepared to respond."

"This year's drought has led to a significant increase in wildfires across the State,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. "It is critical that every Californian do their part and take precautions outdoors to prevent sparking a wildfire."

Along with promoting safe outdoor equipment use, and proper vehicle use and maintenance to prevent fires, CAL FIRE urges all Californians to learn more about debris burning and campfire safety. You can find out how, when and what to burn safely, and how to practice campfire safety and obtain a permit here at 'One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire.' Here are some simple safety guidelines.

Equipment Use Safety:
  • Mow before 10 a.m. but never when it’s windy or excessively dry.
  • In wildland areas, spark arrestors are required for all portable gas-powered equipment including tractors, chainsaws, weed eaters and mowers.
  • In wildland areas, grinding and welding operations require a permit and 10 feet of clearance.
Burning Landscape Debris:
  • Landscape debris piles must be in small 4 feet by 4 feet piles.
  • Clear all flammable material and vegetation from within 10 feet of the outer edge of the pile.
  • Keep a water supply and shovel close to the burning site.
Vehicle Use Safety:
  • Practice safe towing.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained with nothing dragging on the ground.
  • Properly maintain tire pressure and brakes.
Campfire Safety:
  • Obtain the proper permit.
  • Select a level location away from heavy fuels.
  • Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby at all times.
  • Completely extinguish any open campfires.

In addition to supporting CAL FIRE's 'One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire' campaign, PG&E recognizes the importance of creating and maintaining defensible space to slow or stop a wildfire, and to help firefighters defend property. PG&E continually monitors fuel conditions to prepare for this risk, and we work closely with public safety organizations to assist in fire response activities.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.

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