Enhanced vegetation work to reduce wildfire risks
Learn about our vegetation and safety work in high fire-threat areas
In response to the growing risk of wildfire in our state, we are expanding and accelerating our vegetation and safety work. Our focus will be 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 standard 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 new state vegetation and fire-safety standards. The new standards require a clearance 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 tree branches or limbs that have the potential to come into contact with power lines.
C. As an added layer of protection, continue to partner with customers to create fire defense zones around power lines in the highest fire-threat areas. We are looking at the area 15 feet from the pole line to reduce vegetation that could act as fuel in the event of a wildfire.
We plan to minimize the risk posed by vegetation across over 7,100 miles of power lines across our service area, and in areas that face the gravest and most immediate wildfire risk.
Frequently asked questions
What will the work cover and when will it take place?
- To help reduce the risk of future wildfires, and as part of our commitment to keep our customers, their neighborhoods and the surrounding community safe, we are taking urgent action to enhance our wildfire vegetation safety efforts.
- According to CAL FIRE, we witnessed a record wildfire season in 2018 including the state's largest wildfire ever. In response, we are expanding and accelerating our vegetation and safety efforts to reduce the risk of vegetation coming into contact with power lines.
- This urgent safety effort will create even greater safety clearances between trees and power lines, including addressing the safety risk posed by overhanging branches and limbs.
- As part of commitment to safety, we are focusing this critical wildfire vegetation work across 7,100 miles of power lines in neighborhoods and communities that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has designated as facing the highest wildfire risk.
- We are mobilizing resources to complete as much of this essential safety work as possible between now and the end of the 2018 wildfire season.
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 were already working to meet new state vegetation and fire safety standards, which require a clearance 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.
- In response to the growing wildfire threat our state faces, we are expanding and accelerating our vegetation and safety work to be sure we are addressing any overhanging branches or limbs, which have the potential to come into contact with power lines. In some cases, tree removal may be necessary to keep limbs and branches safely away from the lines.
- We are also continuing to partner with our customers in these extreme fire-threat areas to create fire defense zones by reducing vegetation below and near power lines that could act as fuel in a wildfire.
What has changed since the launch of the Community Wildfire Safety Program?
- Since launching the Community Wildfire Safety Program in March of 2018, we have seen even more devastating and deadly wildfires, including the state's largest wildfire ever—and it's likely to get worse.
- According to CAL FIRE and the National Interagency Fire Center, as of August 2018, more than 5,800 wildfires burned over 1.4 million acres. The Mendocino Complex Fire destroyed over 410,000 acres, making it the largest complex fire in California history. The Ranch Fire, within the Mendocino Complex Fire, is the state's single largest modern wildfire.
- Given the destructive and growing nature of wildfires that communities, neighborhoods and customers face, we must take urgent safety actions to help reduce the risk of wildfire threats. As a result, we are expanding and accelerating our vegetation and safety work to further reduce the risk that vegetation/trees could come into contact with power lines.
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.