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Wildfire Mitigation
In response to the recent increase in frequency, extent, and severity of wildfires in Oregon and the California disasters in 2018, the PUC hosted a Special Public Meeting on wildfire mitigation issues and the electric utility sector.
Wildfire prevention and control are high priorities for the Governor and Oregon. This priority is exemplified through the Governor’s creation of the Wildfire Response Council in January 2019, and the call by some legislators in the recent legislative session to dedicate $6.8 million toward a wildfire mitigation package.
This is also a priority for our electricity sector and the PUC. California wildfires and the resulting devastation linked to the electric system highlight the importance of working to prevent and detect threats early to minimize future wildfires and their impact.
This event encouraged dialogue between utilities, subject matter experts, as well as local, regional and state leadership to share perspectives and evolving approaches to the rapidly changing wildfire risk and its impact on electric utilities, their customers, and the communities they serve. We heard from Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp, regarding their wildfire mitigation plans. Matt Donegan, the Chair of the Oregon Wildfire Response Council, presented the work of the Council. Finally, the Oregon Department of Forestry spoke about their efforts to forecast and map wildfire risk.
The changes in wildfire risk are only just beginning and will continue for decades to come, requiring constant evolution of best practices. This public meeting provided a launching point for continued discussions and improvements in mitigation and response planning. For additional information, view the agenda or the video of the meeting.
The PUC plans to continue providing opportunities to further discuss wildfire mitigation to ensure Oregon is prepared.