Wildfire Preparedness

Final view of vegetation management project along Indian Ford Road near Sisters Oregon.Wildfire Mitigation Plan

Central Electric Cooperative revised and formalized its Wildfire Mitigation Plan in 2020. The plan extensively details the co-op’s programs to adapt its electric system to evolving fire-related conditions, implementing new technologies to detect issues before they arise and enhancing the operational practices to mitigate the potential for ignitions.

Preparing Your Home for Wildfire Season

One of the most basic tips for wildfire preparation is creating defensible space around your home—thinning or removing trees and brush and picking up pine needles, grasses, and finer fuels.

Homeowners should focus on three home ignition zones: Immediate Zone (the home itself and 0-5 ft), Intermediate Zone (5-30 feet), and the Extended Zone (30-100 feet).

While full-scale tree (brush) thinning or removal might not need to be done on an annual basis, pine needles, grasses and finer fuels need to be addressed at least once if not twice a year.

Ready Set Go

When an emergency occurs, do you know when to stay and when to go? Oregon has a program called Ready, Set, Go. When the Ready (Level 1) notice is issued, residents are encouraged to be prepared to go and have a plan to evacuate. Also, it’s a good idea to monitor local news and social media for information.

When the Set (Level 2) notice is issued, residents need to be prepared to leave. This level means there is a significant danger in the area, and residents should load their “go-bag” in the car and be ready to leave. If there is time before leaving, write EVACUATED on a pillowcase and hang near the end of the driveway to let emergency personnel know the property is vacated.

And finally, if the Go (Level 3) notice is issued, all citizens should evacuate immediately. There is not time to grab emergency kits or make efforts to protect property.

To view the full Evacuation Guide with tips, click here.

What Does PSPS Mean For CEC Members?

A PSPS is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff. One way to reduce to threat of wildfires during elevated weather events is to proactively shutoff power temporarily. Weather conditions calling for a possible PSPS would include high winds (including Red Flag warnings by the National Weather Service), low humidity and dry vegetation that could serve as fuel.

Central Electric Cooperative has protocols in place for deciding if or when to execute a PSPS. PSPS events are temporary and are meant to keep you and the community safe. To learn more about PSPS events, protocols, and how to prepare, click here.

Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management not only helps to enhance the resiliency of the electric grid, but also helps to reduced the threat of wildfires. Central Electric Cooperative has worked diligently for years with federal land agencies on curbing wildfire risks.

One such project occurred along a 13-mile stretch of overhead lines in the Camp Sherman area. It took the cooperative over a year and half to get approval to replace aging poles and remove vegetation. Learn more about this project and CEC’s approach to vegetation management in the video below.