Keeping safety in mind

At PG&E, nothing is more important than keeping our customers and communities safe. Extreme weather is increasing the number of wildfires and length of wildfire season in California, and California must continue to adapt to meet the challenges of this changing environment.


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a High Fire-Threat District map in January 2018, along with vegetation and fire safety standards for high fire-threat areas. We have enhanced our routine vegetation management work to meet these new standards and now require greater clearances between trees, limbs and power lines to help reduce wildfire risks and increase safety.


As an additional precautionary measure intended to further reduce wildfire risk, we are also working with customers in the highest fire-threat areas to create fire defense zones near or under power lines. This work involves reducing vegetation (trees, bushes, shrubs and limbs) that could act as fuel in a wildfire. We want to work together to help increase defensible space in local communities and improve access for first responders in the event of a wildfire.


Avoid conflicts with power lines — Plant the right tree in the right place


Guidelines for planting near distribution lines: Outside high-fire threat districts, plant only small trees that at maturity are no taller than 25 feet. Inside high-fire threat districts, plant only low-growing, fire-resistant shrubs. Guidelines for planting near distribution lines: Plant only low-growing shrubs in the wire zone. Along the border, plan only small shrubs and trees no taller than 10 feet.


When planting near distribution lines:


A. Outside high-fire threat districts, plant only small trees that at maturity are no taller than 25 feet.


B. Inside high-fire threat districts, plant only low-growing, fire-resistant shrubs.


When planting near transmission lines:


  • Plant only low-growing shrubs in the wire zone.
  • Along the border, plant only small shrubs and trees no taller than 10 feet.

Carefully consider surroundings when planting trees


Trees need space to grow both above and below ground. Proper tree and site selection ensures safe, trouble-free beauty and pleasure for years to come.


Avoid conflicts with power lines


It's important to know whether you are in a high fire-threat area to understand what vegetation is safe for planting. To determine if you are in an area that is at elevated or extreme risk of fire, review the CPUC High Fire-Threat District Map.


If you are in a high fire-threat area, give special attention to defensible space and fire-safe landscaping around your home. Only low-growing (<12” at maturity), high-moisture plants with low sap or resin content should be planted within 15 feet of overhead distribution power lines. Trees, shrubs or other large vegetation should not be planted adjacent to power lines. Visit CAL FIRE's defensible space recommendations.


If you are not in a high fire-threat area, be sure to use small trees when planting under or near power lines. Plant larger, house-shading trees far away from power lines. When planting near distribution lines, select only small trees that will grow no taller than 25 feet at maturity. When planting near transmission lines, plant only low-growing shrubs under the wire zone and only grasses within the area directly below the tower. Along the border of the transmission line right-of-way, plant only small trees or shrubs no taller than 10 feet.


Review our visual guides to planting trees both within and outside of a high fire-threat area, below.

CPUC fire safety regulations require increased tree clearances as the voltage of the line increases. Transmission lines carry much higher voltages than distribution lines and regulations require even more trimming. If you live near a transmission corridor and want to plant trees and shrubs that provide screening while protecting tree health and beauty, follow the guidelines below. If you have particular questions about trees near transmission lines, ask to speak to a PG&E transmission line arborist at 1-800-743-5000.

Planting recommendations near gas transmission pipelines


Every day, we conduct gas pipeline safety work across northern and central California to ensure that the millions of customers in the communities we serve have the safest and most reliable gas system in the nation. PG&E’s Community Pipeline Safety Initiative helps to ensure that the pipeline is operating safely by looking at the area above and around the natural gas transmission lines to be certain that first responders and our own emergency response crews have critical access to the pipelines in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. It is because of our commitment to safety that we have spent or earmarked nearly $3 billion to strengthen our gas infrastructure all throughout the California communities we're proud to serve.


Trees can block safety crews from getting to gas pipelines in an emergency or natural disaster, when every second counts.

Get more information


Visit CAL FIRE to learn more about:


Fire Resistant Landscaping
Creating Defensible Space

Safety tips for planting near power lines

Tree selection and planting guides

Learn why palm trees & bamboo require special consideration