2018 Ferguson Fire from El Portal in Mariposa County
Photo credit: Blake Scott, National Park Service
September 13, 2018 - FRESNO, Calif.— In response to the recent and dramatically increasing wildfire threat in our state, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is accelerating its vegetation management work in the central and southern regions of the Sierra Nevada mountains to further reduce the risk of wildfire and keep our customers, their families and our communities safe.
According to CAL FIRE and the National Interagency Fire Center, in 2018, as of late August, more than 5,800 wildfires have already burned over 1.4 million acres.
The unprecedented, destructive nature of the wildfire risk that California faces this year demands additional steps to further mitigate wildfire threats and keep our customers safe. As a result, we are augmenting our Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP) to accelerate our vegetation and safety work and reduce the risk of vegetation coming into contact with power lines.
This wildfire safety work involves creating even greater clearances between trees and power lines, including overhanging branches and limbs, in areas the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has designated as at extreme risk of wildfire.
PG&E was 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.
Our accelerated wildfire vegetation management work addresses overhanging branches or limbs, which have the potential to come into contact with power lines, by ensuring conductor-to-sky 12-foot clearance.
We are also continuing to partner with customers in 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, as an added layer of protection and to enhance defensible space.
The work is already underway in several local counties. More than 400 tree workers are assigned to the local region along with more than 160 inspectors. Work sites will change regularly as we clear circuits in high fire threat areas. We have set up a main location in Sonora, and will have smaller sites in Angels Camp, Mariposa, Oakhurst and Groveland by Monday.
Local miles of circuits in high fire threat areas are listed below.
Fresno County – 33.3 miles in the Shaver and Auberry area
Madera County – 210 miles in the Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, Oakhurst areas
Mariposa – 161.8 miles in the Bootjack, Fish Camp, Greeley Hill, Mariposa, Midpines and Wawona areas
We expect this work to take place between now and the end of the 2018 wildfire season.
Customers can call 877.295.4949 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org