Wildfire Mitigation

Posted: July 1, 2022 at 11:52 a.m.

Happy Oregon summer to all. It was a long wait but as always the payoff is this incredible green landscape we call home. I hope the months ahead are full of family, friends, and fun.

As the weather begins to turn hot, I wanted to say a few words about the upcoming fire season. The heavy spring rain has produced unusually large amounts of vegetation out there, as the weeds in your garden may be reminding you. During the summer months, this growth will dry out and increase the risk of wildfire danger.

We’ve seen how devastating wildfires can be to our local communities and we take this risk extremely seriously. For years now, we’ve been implementing measures to help reduce the risk of wildfires in and around our service territory.

Learn more about our approach and how you can help by watching the video below:

Last month we submitted a formal Wildfire Mitigation Plan to the State of Oregon that outlines these efforts, as well as steps we may take in the event of an actual wildfire.

Emerald’s Board of Directors approved this plan in May 2022, and the full text can be found at the link below:


At a high level, we have two major tools we use to mitigate wildfire events:

  • Vegetation Management: Aggressive tree trimming and removal within our rights-of-way is the single best action we can take to avoid contacts with our electrical facilities. We’ve really stepped up our game here over the past five years as I hope you’ve noticed as you’ve passed our lines. Rather than simply cutting to required clearance levels, we’re looking to keep tree limbs and other debris well away from any of our equipment. There are limits to what we can do with trees that are outside of our rights-of-way, but please don’t hesitate to reach out if you see situations that might look unsafe.
  • Flexible System Operations: Emerald has been at the forefront of installing equipment that allows us to run our distribution system much differently than in the past. Today we can dial in the sensitivity settings on our lines, all the way down to “one shot”, meaning they will de-energize at the very first point of debris contact. Operating this way all the time leads to unnecessary outages, but during high risk periods we can increase sensitivity as appropriate.

If you have any questions about our approach or want to know more about actions in specific areas in our District, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  We’re all in this together.

Please stay safe,

Diagram from Emerald’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan