What Is Utility Wildfire Protection & Why Is It Important?

Studies have shown that power lines and electrical equipment are one of the leading causes of fires and wildfires, especially in dry places like California where natural sources of water are scarce and the air is generally dry all year long. Utility wildfire protection is a type of emergency preparedness that fire rescue professionals undergo in order to minimize the risk of wildfires caused by things like electrical lines. In places like California, where the near-constant threat of wildfires impacts the environment and local communities that call the state home, utility wildfire protection can mean the difference between avoiding a major wildfire or having to experience the devastation of a wildfire later on.

What Is Utility Wildfire Protection?

Electrical lines pose a major threat to the development of wildfires because loose brush and vegetation can touch an electrical line and cause a spark. The spark could then start a small fire, which would likely turn into a big fire in little to no time unless someone is there to put it out. Since electrical lines often encompass remote areas that can be hard to reach, the odds of a fire professional being nearby to catch and put out a spark is unlikely. So how to wildfire protection crews avoid these problems altogether?

More often than not these problems are caused by overgrown trees and brush that get too dry and are located too close to the electrical lines. Wildfire prevention crews undergo intensive utility wildfire protection strategies like trimming brush that grows too close to electrical lines. The crews are also responsible for things like checking the electrical lines to make sure that they are not at risk of sparking, an intensive job that requires a lot of time and energy from utility wildfire protection crews.

In some cases, remote sensors are used to detect any issues that may arise from electrical lines in particularly remote or hard to reach places. In other cases, it could be as simple as trimming trees and branches that grow too close to the electrical lines. Groups like fire rescue professionals and environmental protection groups often team up to assure that fire safety is a priority. If a sensor emits a signal that says a power line is at risk of creating a fire, the professionals that monitor the sensors will be able to determine how to approach the problem quickly, or figure out exactly where a fire has broken out to be able to get to it as fast as possible before it grows.

In Residential Areas

But most people shouldn’t leave these types of utility wildfire protection up to professionals. These issues are common in residential neighborhoods as well, and we recommend that homeowners keep up with their yard work to assure that they don’t fall victim to accidental fires caused by overgrown brush and trees. Take precautions like keeping an eye on how and where trees and brush are growing, and trim them (or get a professional to trim them) carefully so that they don’t cross any electrical lines at any point.

Comments (3)

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  • Elizabeth Davis

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    Capstone Fire & Safety Management

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