Fire Safety Outage Management

A fire safety outage is a proactive power outage designed to prevent wildfire ignitions from utility infrastructure during very high winds and dry conditions. We recognize the devastation that wildfires can have on a community, and we recognize the impact on our customers when power is out. The decision to use a fire safety outage is one we take very seriously and is a rarely used measure of last resort.

Current Forecast

We are monitoring the weather forecast, and there are no outages anticipated at this time.

Photo of tree trimming on hazard tree to prevent fire starts

Prepare

There are steps you can take now to prepare for a future outage:

Warning

About 48 hours before a potential fire safety outage:

  • We will send customer alerts as early and often as possible through email, social media, local news outlets, partner agencies, and on our outage webpage.
  • Stock up on water, shelf-stable food, gas for your car, ice for coolers, cash, medications and other things you’ll need for at least three days.
  • Charge your mobile phone; consider a portable device charger.
  • If you have a generator, review the owner’s manual to ensure safe operation. Here's a fact sheet with more tips.
  • Review how to manually open your garage door.

Outage

If the forecasted weather conditions become imminent, Chelan PUD may turn off power as a measure of last resort:

  • The PUD will provide regular updates via local media, email, our website and social media channels, and through partner agency channels like AlertSense.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. Here’s a Red Cross guide to determine if your food is safe.
  • Turn off all appliances and all but one light. Turn off the circuit breaker to your hot water heater. Wait 10 minutes after power is restored before turning these items back on. This reduces the strain on the system, and could prevent another outage.
  • Unplug any sensitive electronic equipment.
  • If you’re a PUD wastewater customer, remember to avoid dumping liquids down the drains (use short showers, few toilet flushes) to prevent a possible wastewater overflow.

Restore

  • After high winds have subsided, power will remain off to allow PUD crews to safely inspect powerlines for wind-blown debris, fallen trees, and other hazards.
  • Inspection times vary, but it may take up to 24 hours to ensure that all powerlines are safe to re-energize. When crews give the all-clear, we will restore power.
  • When possible, we will provide the estimated time of restoration.
Map of Fire Safety Outage Phase 1 area

Map of Phase 1 fire safety outage area


2021 Phase 1 Area

Wildfire risk studies consistently identify the Lake Wenatchee, Plain and Chumstick Highway as the highest-risk areas in Chelan County. We may expand this plan to other high-risk areas in Chelan County as needed in the future.

The area includes about 3,500 electrical service meters and 250 wastewater customers, including:

  • Lake Wenatchee, Kahler Glen to White River
  • Coles Corner to Nason Creek, Merritt and Stevens Pass
  • Plain, Chiwawa Loop Road, River Road, Ponderosa, Shugart Flats
  • Chumstick Highway from the 7-mile marker (about 1 mile after Clark Canyon)

Fire Safety Outage Conditions

Throughout the summer, the PUD will monitor the weather forecasts using data from the Forest Service, state Department of Natural Resources and other weather-monitoring services. We will track several factors, including predicted wind gusts, humidity, fuel moisture and potential fire behavior.

Wind speed is one of the most important factors for a fire safety outage, because wind-blown branches and trees are one of the biggest threats to overhead power lines. The kind of conditions when we would consider a fire safety outage include wind speeds of 40 miles per hour or more.

The conditions that trigger a fire safety outage are different and generally more severe than those that would issue a red flag warning. Red flag warnings are expected several times every year. We’ve studied  historical weather data, and the kind of conditions that may lead to a fire safety outage occur about every 3-5 years. If we must use a fire safety outage, we will notify our customer-owners as soon as possible, ideally 48 hours in advance.


Learn More

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for the answers to some of your questions or our Fire Safety Outage Resources page for more information about partner agencies and resources to help you prepare for fire season.

Sign up for email updates about fire safety outages here

Do you want to learn more about how we developed this plan? Visit our background page

Do you have questions or comments about fire safety outages? Send them to customeroutreach@chelanpud.org.