Enhanced vegetation management work to reduce wildfire risks
Further enhancing our efforts for safety
PG&E has expanded and enhanced our vegetation safety work in High Fire-Threat District (HFTD) areas. HFTD areas are designated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This aids us in further reducing the risk of wildfires and keep you and your community safe.
The goal of our Enhanced Vegetation Management (EVM) Program is to keep trees, limbs and branches away from powerlines and electric equipment.
As part of this work, we will:
- Exceed state standards for minimum clearances around powerlines, including pruning overhanging limbs and branches above powerlines.
- Conduct additional inspections, beyond routine patrols, to cut down dead, diseased, dying or defective trees that could harm powerlines or equipment.
- Evaluate the condition of trees that may need to be addressed if they are tall enough to strike the lines or equipment.
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.
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. Now, PG&E Report It is part of our safety toolkit.
This summer, we launched the pilot for our new “PG&E Report It” mobile app for customers in HFTDs to report their safety concerns directly to us. Customers can report concerns to us by:
- Describing the location of their safety concern.
- This Includes concerns about electrical equipment or vegetation that pose a potential risk to powerlines.
- Taking a picture or video of the location.
- Submitting a report.
This initial phase of the pilot is available to select customers who live in high fire-threat areas.
Learn more about PG&E REPORT IT
Frequently asked questions
Where and when will this work take place?
- 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. These areas are defined as at elevated (Tier 2) and extreme (Tier 3) risk of wildfire, based on the CPUC’s HFTD map.
- 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.
- To ensure we are addressing the highest wildfire risk areas, we have implemented the most advanced wildfire risk model available to maximize the safety of our customers and communities.
- Customers will be notified of any enhanced vegetation management work that may need to be performed or around their property.
What Can Customers Expect?
- The goal of this important wildfire safety effort is to further reduce the risk of trees, limbs and branches coming into contact with powerlines or electric equipment.
- Trees that could grow to within 4 feet of the lines, have the potential to strike the lines or equipment, or are overhanging the powerlines will be assessed for pruning or cutting down.
- We are also evaluating the condition of trees that may need to be addressed if they are tall enough to strike the lines or electric equipment.
- You may see PG&E crews and contractors on or near your property to review trees to identify these safety risks.
- If any safety work is planned for your property, you will be notified with phone calls, postcards and door hangers. We may also reach out to coordinate access for inspections or the vegetation work.
- After work is finished, crews will conduct follow-up quality inspections to ensure work meets required safety standards.
- You may see crews on or near your property multiple times a year as this work may be conducted alongside our other annual work.
How is this work different than work already underway?
- Our compliance work involves meeting important state vegetation and fire safety standards, which require clearances of 4 feet around powerlines 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 exceeding state vegetation and fire safety standards in high fire-threat areas across our service territory.
- As part of our vegetation safety work, we:
- Prune limbs and branches that overhang the 4 foot clearance zone around the lines
- Cut down hazardous vegetation such as dead, diseased, defective or dying trees that pose a potential risk to the lines or equipment on a yearly basis
- Evaluate the condition of trees that may need to be addressed if they are tall enough to strike the lines or equipment
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 4 inches in diameter and can spread the chips onsite after tree work is complete. 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 4 inches in diameter is left onsite 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 work, larger wood that is greater than 4 inches in diameter will generally be left onsite, 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, we plan to begin wood debris removal 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