Enhanced vegetation 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 high wildfire risk in areas designated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as facing the greatest wildfire threat.
Increasing our efforts for safety
Enhanced vegetation and fire-safety efforts are critical to reducing the risk of trees and brush 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 conduct targeted removal of dead and dying trees as well as certain species that are at increased 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 25,000 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.
How is this work different than work already underway?
Our Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP) is a broad and multi-level program to help further reduce the risk of wildfire. Our enhanced vegetation work is a critical aspect of CWSP and our commitment to address the wildfire threat our customers and communities face.
- We will continue 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.
- When clearing overhanging branches, we will focus on the area directly above and around the power lines.
- We will also continue targeted removal of dead and dying trees as well as certain species that are at increased risk of falling into power lines.
- Our goal is to ensure we are completing this important safety work safely and as quickly as possible across both high and extreme fire-threat areas.
- To address this wildfire threat, we will focus on the trees that pose an increased safety risk, which may include re-evaluating trees previously marked to identify which trees should or should not be removed for safety reasons
Which tree species are at highest risk of failing and falling into lines?
- We are assessing trees that may be in poor health as well as specific tree species that pose an increased risk of falling into power lines in extreme weather conditions.
- This includes:
- Black 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 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 from top to bottom.
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 and where possible when power may be turned off for safety.
For public safety, it may be necessary for us to temporarily turn off electricity in high fire-threat areas when extreme fire conditions occur. We will attempt to contact customers in advance to ensure there's enough time to prepare.