Together, we can reduce the impact of wildfire on our communities.
With summer in full swing, Douglas Electric Cooperative (DEC) has intensified efforts to address wildfire concerns as we experience longer dry spells, extreme temperatures and summer skies filled with smoke. DEC works year-round on implementation of its wildfire mitigation plan to enhance preventive measures to protect its infrastructure and the communities the cooperative serves.
Ongoing Preventive Measures
- Every year, we trim thousands of trees and clear vegetation near power lines in high-density areas, such as the more-forested regions in our service territory.
- In some areas with a higher potential of fire danger, we reconfigure protective equipment to shut down power lines on the first sign of an electrical fault. The line won’t be reenergized until it is inspected and manually reset.
- On portions of overhead power lines, we are working to replace conventional fuses—which expel hot particles and gases that can cause fires—with current-limiting fuses that expel no materials and provide a high level of safety and reliability.
Focus on Prevention & Rapid Response
- We have implemented a wildfire mitigation plan to establish operations, maintenance and construction practices and standards to minimize the risk of the co-op’s electric distribution and transmission facilities’ potential involvement in a wildfire.
- We created a wildfire mitigation manager position to focus DEC’s efforts on the increasing wildfire risk facing the Pacific Northwest. This person ensures the wildfire mitigation plan is implemented and followed. This person also documents fire mitigation efforts in maintenance, vegetation management and fuse placement, and spearheads system-hardening efforts and evaluates potential equipment and process changes to further reduce risk.
- DEC established a policy to have all new services be underground. The only exception is if the site or soil do not make it feasible.
- In red-flag events, DEC stations line personnel in key areas of the system to assist firefighting efforts. Quickly de-energizing equipment in areas affected by fire ensures the scene is safe for first responders.
Take Precautions to Protect Your Property
- While DEC clears vegetation in rights-of-way, please take precautions to protect yourself and your property.
- To reduce the risk, consider the fire resistance of your home, the topography of your property and the nature of the vegetation close by. How dry is it?
- Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Oregon Ready, Set, Go! for tips on keeping your home, family and community safe from wildfires.