The Oregon Department of Forestry said it shared its web-based Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer tool with the state Public Utilities Commission this week in an effort to reduce the number of wildfires started by power lines.
ODF was joined at the PUC workshop by Pacific Gas and Electric and Pacific Power to introduce measures utility companies are taking to prevent ignitions or provide quick response when fires occur.
With last year's Camp Fire caused by a power line – taking 86 lives and devastating the town of Paradise, Calif. – this workshop served as a starting point for addressing this issue in Oregon.
ODF reports an average of 47 fires are caused by power lines each year on lands protected by the agency. While most of these fires are caught at 10 acres or less, the remote location of power lines can sometimes lead to large fire growth due to lack of access.
The 2018 Ramsey Canyon Fire, which started August 9 from a downed power line in Jackson County, burned nearly 2,000 acres and cost $6.6 million to put out.