SAN FRANCISCO–The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Friday approved a statewide Fire-Threat Map that will help with implementation of new fire prevention rules adopted last month and continue the CPUC’s work in protecting public safety.
The map, approved by the CPUC’s Safety and Enforcement Division following a public process, delineates areas in the state where there is an elevated risk and an extreme risk (including likelihood and potential impacts on people and property) from utility associated wildfires. The Fire-Threat Map helps prioritize fire hazard areas to allow for implementation of new fire-safety regulations adopted by the CPUC in December 2017.
Primary responsibility for the development of the Fire-Threat Map was delegated to a group of utility mapping experts, with oversight from a team of independent experts known as the Independent Review Team. The members of the Independent Review Team were selected by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the work of the Independent Review Team was overseen by CAL FIRE. The development of the Fire-Threat Map includes input from many stakeholders, including investor-owned and publicly owned electric utilities, communications infrastructure providers, and local public safety agencies.
Going forward, each electric investor-owned utility must file an annual report, beginning October 31, 2018, that contains a fire-prevention plan containing specified information for its overhead electric facilities in the High Fire-Threat District. Also, increased vegetation management and new fire regulations apply starting no later than September 1, 2018, in Tier 3 and starting no later than June 30, 2019, in Zone 1 and Tier 2 of the High Fire-Threat District.
The CPUC will hold a Fire Safety and Utility Infrastructure En Banc on January 31 to discuss fire threat in California and additional steps that can be taken to mitigate fire hazards to utility infrastructure.