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Pacific Power Wildfire Mitigation Plan Includes Power Shutoff Provisions

Pacific Power will be presenting its updated wildfire mitigation plan to the Oregon Public Utility Commission on Tuesday, including provisions for what is termed a “Public Safety Power Shutoff” in areas that have been identified at high risk of fast-spreading wildfires, and portions of the Hood River-Mosier area are among them.  Pacific Power Senior Vice President of External Affairs Scott Bolton says the shutoffs would ensure fires can’t be started by electrical equipment, and he called them a “last resort” measure that would require conditions beyond a simple Red Flag Warning for very high temperatures and winds.  Bolton says they are in the process of updating their information to determine what parts of their Hood River service area would be impacted, but he indicated it would not include downtown Hood River and most of the City, but it would include a few outlying locations where they have circuits that would interface with a higher-risk fire area.  Bolton says part of their discussions with emergency managers around the state is developing channels of notification on how to most effectively provide notice of a shutoff.  He emphasized a shutoff would only take place in an extreme fire danger situation, noting weather data for the Hood River area indicates they would not have used this measure in the last eight years.  Pacific Power’s wildfire mitigation plan includes more aggressive vegetation management around its facilities…increased inspections of those locations, and training employees to be able to respond to fire when they see something happen.