Enhanced vegetation management work to reduce wildfire risks
Learn about our vegetation safety work in high fire-threat areas
In response to the growing risk of wildfire in our state, we are enhancing our vegetation and safety work. Our focus will be on addressing vegetation that poses a higher potential for wildfire risk in high fire-threat areas as designated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). You may see PG&E vegetation management inspectors and contractors in your neighborhood multiple times in a year if you live in those areas.
Further enhancing our efforts for safety
Our Enhanced Vegetation Management (EVM) program involves multiple steps to help further reduce the risk of trees, limbs and branches from coming into contact with power lines in high fire-threat areas.
To maximize the safety of our customers, their neighborhoods and the surrounding community, we will:
A. Continue to meet state vegetation and fire safety standards through our routine vegetation management work, which require clearances of 4 feet around power lines in high fire-threat areas with recommended minimum clearances of 12 feet or more at time of prune to ensure compliance year-round. We will also remove hazardous vegetation such as dead or dying trees that pose a potential risk to the lines.
B. Respond to the increasing wildfire threat our state faces by addressing overhanging limbs and branches directly above and around the lines. We will also evaluate the condition of trees that may need to be addressed if they are tall enough to strike the lines.
Top 20 percent of EVM work scope
PG&E's goal is to complete 1,800 EVM miles by the end of 2021, out of approximately 2,400 miles of total 2021 EVM scope of work. The 2021 goal is a subset of the total scope of work to account for projected operational constraints, including access issues, environmental considerations and permitting requirements. The top 1-3% Circuit Protection Zone (CPZ) risk will be a primary focus of PG&E's 1,800 miles of EVM work by end of year. CPZs are portions of a circuit that can be isolated from the rest of the system.
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Use our mobile app to report vegetation concerns
Our teams work every day to help keep communities safe from wildfire. We use drones, helicopters, weather stations, cameras and more to enhance our efforts. And now, PG&E Report It is part of our safety toolkit. Download our mobile application, PG&E Report It, to report non-emergency safety concerns related to PG&E electrical equipment. With the app, you can submit a photo of tree limbs, branches or other vegetation that pose a potential risk to PG&E lines or poles. You can also report other non-emergency hazards related to PG&E electrical equipment.
Learn more about PG&E REPORT IT
Frequently asked questions
Where and when will this work take place?
- We will be conducting this important safety work across both high and extreme fire-threat areas across our service territory. These areas are defined as at elevated (Tier 2) and extreme (Tier 3) risk of wildfire, based on the California Public Utilities Commission's High Fire-Threat District Map.
- We are working safely and as quickly as possible to complete this important safety work, prioritizing those communities that are at the most extreme risk of wildfire. We will then expand our work to other high fire-threat areas across our service territory.
- This work will cover roughly 25,000 miles of distribution line from Bakersfield to the Oregon border.
- The timing for work in a community will depend on the wildfire risk in that area, what specific work needs to be done, and conversations with customers regarding plans for their property, among other factors.
What Can Customers Expect?
- PG&E's Enhanced Vegetation Management program involves two important steps to help further reduce the risk of trees coming into contact with power lines in high fire-threat areas. These include:
- Tree crews completing necessary tree pruning work and removing any dead or dying trees.
- The tree pruning work includes meeting state vegetation and fire safety standards and addressing overhanging branches and limbs directly above and around the lines.
- An inspection to evaluate the condition of trees that may need to be addressed if they are tall enough to strike the lines.
- For these trees, we are evaluating the health of the tree as well as looking at how tall the tree is, how close it is to the power line and the likelihood of the tree striking the power line if it were to fall.
- We will remove any trees that we determine pose a safety risk based on these factors.
How is this work different than work already underway?
- In response to the growing wildfire threat, we have expanded and enhanced our vegetation and safety work. This work is one of many additional precautionary measures implemented following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires as part of our comprehensive Community Wildfire Safety Program.
- We will continue to meet important state vegetation and fire safety standards through routine vegetation management work, which require clearances of 4 feet around power lines in high fire-threat areas, with recommended minimum clearances of 12 feet or more at time of prune to ensure compliance year-round.
- When pruning overhanging branches and limbs, we will focus on the area directly above and around the power lines.
- We will continue to remove hazardous vegetation such as dead or dying trees that pose a potential risk to the lines and prune vegetation around lower voltage secondary lines to prevent damage, when needed.
- We will also evaluate the condition of trees that may need to be addressed if they are tall enough to strike the lines.
Will PG&E Remove the Wood Debris Generated As Part Of This Work?
- As a service to our customers, we chip wood that is less than four inches in diameter and can spread the chips on-site after tree work is complete. However, in remote areas tree crews lop and scatter wood debris in accordance with best practices to avoid excessive vegetation build-up.
- Larger wood debris that is greater than four inches in diameter is left on-site as it legally belongs to the landowner since trees are considered assets and property. However, wood from this enhanced vegetation safety work may be eligible for removal at no direct cost to our customers, provided it is safely accessible and requested by the property owner.
- For all other vegetation management work, larger wood that is greater than four inches in diameter will generally be left on-site, as it is not eligible for removal.
- Customers who would like us to remove the wood debris from this work will receive a Request for Wood Management form at the time of inspection.
- Completed forms will need to be returned to the safety inspector or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the tree work beginning.
- Once we receive a signed request form and the tree work is complete, wood debris removal can begin within a few weeks, depending on weather, access or other schedule constraints.
What can customers do to enhance defensible space?
We urge customers to take steps to prepare for wildfires by creating defensible space around their homes. CAL FIRE recommends:
- Creating 100 feet of defensible space by removing all flammable vegetation and any dead or dying plants within 30 feet of your home and having a fuel reduction zone in the remaining 70 feet
- Removing surface litter, such as leaves, pine needles, twigs, bark, cones and pods
- Removing lower tree branches at least six feet from the ground
- Landscaping with fire resistant plants
- Cutting grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches, mowing before 10 a.m. and never on hot or windy days. Consider trimming grass with a string trimmer.
For more information, go to readyforwildfire.org.
Our enhanced inspections of electric towers, poles and substations involves using PG&E and contractor ground crews, helicopters and drones to inspect the electric system across high fire-threat areas.
PG&E has precautionary measures in place to help reduce the risk of wildfires. Our goal is to help customers prepare for and stay safe during extreme weather events, including sending notifications when possible when power may be turned off for safety.
Keep contact information up to date
For public safety, it may be necessary for us to temporarily turn off electricity in high fire-threat areas gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, threaten a portion of the electric system. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). We will attempt to contact customers in advance to ensure there's enough time to prepare.
Update your contact information
Learn about public safety power shutoff notifications