Fire Hardening Projects

The past decade has brought many large wildfires to Chelan County and surrounding areas. Chelan County PUD conducts studies and performs regular maintenance and upgrades to harden the electrical system against fire danger.

Grubbing and Painting

Chelan PUD performs routine fire prevention work by clearing combustible materials like sagebrush, shrubs and tree limbs from the base of transmission and distribution poles, and applying fire retardant paint to the bottom six to eight feet of the pole. This program helps protect the electrical system from fires and extends the life expectancy of the wood poles.

Tree Trimming

PUD Arborists regularly inspect trees that have grown close to distribution and transmission overhead power lines, and these trees are pruned a safe distance away from the lines. This work decreases the risk of damage to power lines during a fire, or of branches falling into the lines and sparking a fire. To learn more about the PUD's tree trimming program, visit this page.

Photo of fire retardant paint on PUD wood poles

Transmission Wildfire Risk Assessment

Chelan PUD hired a consulting firm, HDR, Inc., to conduct a fire risk assessment of the PUD’s transmission system. The study provided the PUD with a list of transmission line segments that are candidates for fire hardening improvements. These improvements will minimize power outages, shorten outage durations, and improve the resiliency and reliability of the PUD’s transmission system.

Factors evaluated include the expected intensity of the fire based on the type of vegetation in the area (fuel source), the ability to combat and defend against a fire, impacts to customers, the ability to access the lines to make emergency repairs, anticipated time to complete repairs, and the impacts to the PUD’s hydro generation facilities.

The PUD is evaluating potential projects and reaching out to the community to determine which projects, if any, should be completed and what the scope of those projects should be.

Current Fire Hardening Projects

Learn more about our current projects to protect against wildfire risk and damage to the electrical system: