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 per year if you live in those areas.
Increasing our efforts for safety
Enhanced vegetation and fire-safety efforts are critical to reducing the risk of trees, limbs and branches coming into contact with lines.
To maximize the safety of our customers, their neighborhoods and the surrounding community, we will:
A. Enhance our routine vegetation management work to meet and exceed state vegetation and fire safety standards, 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 trim to ensure compliance year-round.
B. Respond to the dramatically increasing wildfire threat our state faces by addressing overhanging limbs and branches directly above and around the lines. We will also be removing dead and dying trees as well as certain species that pose an increased potential risk of falling into power lines.
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 be expanding our work to other high fire-threat areas across our service territory.
- This equates to roughly 25,200 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.
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.
- Our routine vegetation management work involves meeting important state vegetation and fire safety standards, 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.
- Our enhanced vegetation management work involves meeting and exceeding state vegetation and fire safety standards in high fire-threat areas across our service territory by:
- Pruning overhanging branches and limbs directly above and around power lines.
- Addressing specific tree species that have been involved in the majority of incidents of falling into powerlines and creating wildfire risk.
Which tree species are at highest risk of failing and falling into lines?
- We are assessing trees for those that may be in poor health as well as specific tree species that have been involved in a majority of incidents of falling into powerlines and creating wildfire risk.
- These species include:
- Black Oak
- Tan Oak
- Gray Pine
- Coast Live Oak
- Douglas Fir
- Blue Gum / Eucalyptus
- Valley Oak
- Live Oak
- Ponderosa Pine
- Monterey Pine
- For these species, we are looking at how tall the tree is, how close it is to the power line and may consider other criteria related to the likelihood of it striking the power line if it were to fall.
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.
Who can I contact for more information?
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 when extreme fire conditions occur, 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