As California’s climate conditions have changed, the traditional idea of a fire “season” has evolved into a year-long battle against stronger, faster wildfires. About a quarter of SCE’s service territory is categorized as a high fire risk area. In order to keep our customers, employees, and the public safe, we’ve made it our priority to invest in improvements to help prevent wildfires and act quickly when they occur.
In addressing the wildfire challenges in High Fire Risk Areas, our proposed 2020-22 Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP) outlines areas of exploration and application of a variety of innovative, new technologies that can be used to predict and prevent equipment failures that could spark fires.
We’re reinforcing our grid by replacing current equipment with new technologies that help reduce wildfire risks, including:
- Insulated wires that lower the chance of faults or short circuits that can create sparks when they come into contact with animals, vegetation, or other debris.
- Composite poles that are stronger and more resilient than wood poles.
- Fast-acting fuses, advanced lightning arrestors, and other devices that can react more quickly to minimize fire risks.
We’re proactively working to identify trees and other vegetation that may pose a risk to power lines in fire-prone areas. In 2018, we removed 24,500 dead, dying, or diseased trees in our service territory. In addition, we’ve increased the frequency of our vegetation patrols and inspect approximately 900,000 trees annually. Our teams are also monitoring trees outside required clearances that may pose a potential risk to the company’s power lines.
We’ve invested in a number of ways to better forecast potential wildfire conditions and be more effective in responding to fire events when they occur.
Our Situational Awareness Center is staffed around the clock with meteorologists and Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals during events and incidents. Our new high-resolution weather data maps will help our meteorologists identify future extreme conditions.
We’ve installed additional weather stations that provide real-time information about wind, temperature, and humidity to help us make key decisions during potential fire conditions, including Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events.
Our live fire monitoring cameras will help our incident command teams and first responders more quickly assess and respond to reported fires.
One of our preventative measures to help protect against wildfires is Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. These events may be called during extreme and potentially dangerous weather conditions.
Our fire management team works with fire agencies throughout our service territory to:
- Improve service reliability during critical incidents
- Support public and firefighter safety
- Foster relationships that improve response times