Pay My Bill Get Fiber Residential Services Business Services Outage and Safety Center Conservation Rebates Start/Stop Services Update Your Account Information Community Services and Discounts Street Lighting Rates and Policies Contact Us Related Pages Fire Safety Outage Management Fire Safety Outage Resources Outage and Safety Center Chelan County PUD Medical Electric Needs Registry Update Your Account Information If the Lights Go Out Related Documents Generator Factsheet Prepare for a Fire Safety Outage Home / My PUD Services / Outage and Safety Center / Fire Safety Outage Management / Fire Safety Outage Frequently Asked Questions / Fire Safety Outage Frequently Asked Questions Fire Safety Outage Frequently Asked Questions Expand all Why is Chelan PUD implementing a Fire Safety Outage Management Plan? The growing threat of catastrophic wildfire in Chelan County is real. That’s why we are developing a plan to prevent our electrical equipment from causing a fire during extreme weather conditions. It’s called a Fire Safety Outage, and it’s a measure of last resort when public safety is threatened. Of the 10 most destructive fires on the West Coast in the last 30 years, half were caused by electrical equipment. Proactively turning power off to prevent a mega fire can save lives, homes and critical community resources. Did the PUD explore other solutions or mitigation measures before implementing Fire Safety Outages? Chelan PUD continues to build upon its Fire Mitigation Program to protect critical infrastructure from fire damage and reduce the likelihood of ignition from electrical equipment. Chelan PUD’s Fire Mitigation Program includes: Increased tree-trimming and brush removal Fire-retardant treatments Steel poles or undergrounding where feasible Increased inspections during fire season Coordination with local agencies Refurbishments and replacements of aging infrastructure Increasing the sensitivity of fire protection systems As a last resort, fire safety outages in fire-prone areas during critical fire weather (windy and dry conditions) The risk of catastrophic wildfire in Chelan County has increased over the past decade, due to factors outside of our control: Declining forest health, increased development and recreation in fire-prone areas, and more extreme fire weather. Our focus is on holistic prevention; fire safety outages are considered a measure of last resort when public safety is threatened. Why was the Plain/Lake Wenatchee/Chumstick Highway area selected for Phase 1 implementation of this plan? Several wildfire risk studies consistently identify the highest-risk areas in Chelan County as Lake Wenatchee, Plain, and Chumstick Highway. Chelan PUD intends to implement the fire safety outage management plan in these areas beginning in summer 2021 (Phase 1). We may expand this plan to other high-risk areas as needed in the future. Is my home/property included in the Phase 1 fire safety outage area? The Phase 1 area includes the Chumstick Highway from mile marker 7 (about a half mile north of Clark Canyon), Coles Corner, the summit of Stevens Pass, Plain, Lake Wenatchee and up to White River. Visit our Fire Safety Outage page for a map of the boundaries. If your property is located along the boundary, email us at email@example.com for clarification. How can my family prepare for a Fire Safety Outage? Preparing for a Fire Safety Outage is similar to preparing for any storm or fire season. Depending on conditions, power outages could last for 24 hours or more. Here are a few recommendations to prepare: Prepare a Family Emergency Plan that includes water, shelf-stable food and backup power generation, if possible. Here are a few safety tips for generator use from the Red Cross. Make sure the PUD has your updated contact information on file, and sign up for AlertSense notifications through Chelan County Emergency Management. In advance of a power outage, charge your electronic devices and power down/unplug any sensitive electronics. Review manual operation of your garage door opener. For more tips on how to prepare for power outages and what to do during a power outage, visit our Outage page. If you live in a fire-prone area, protect your home and property by implementing Firewise principals and defensible space. There are several resources that can help you create a management plan specific to your property. You can find those resources – including potential grant opportunities – here: Fire Safety Outage Resources. What are the conditions or thresholds that the PUD will consider implementing a fire safety outage? We are working with a consultant and other local agencies to identify the weather conditions – such as high winds and dry fuels – that could result in potential difficulty of fire suppression. While we are still researching and gathering data, we are considering a few possible thresholds, including wind gusts greater than 40 miles per hour and flame lengths greater than 8 feet. These thresholds are preliminary. According to historical weather data, we estimate these conditions may occur roughly once every 3-5 years. That said, fire seasons are difficult to predict. Again, this data is preliminary and we will continue to develop our understanding and refine the fire safety outage plan over the next few months. I received an alert about Red Flag Conditions/Fire Weather Warning, does this mean there will be a Fire Safety Outage? In most instances, no. The weather thresholds associated with a fire safety outage – such as high winds and dry fuels – are more extreme than a red flag day. In Chelan County, red flag days occur multiple times every summer. According to historical modeling, the conditions that may lead to a fire safety outage occur every three to five years. How will I be notified of an upcoming fire safety outage? If the forecast indicates that extreme fire weather is imminent, we will send customer alerts as early and often as possible. Please check that Chelan PUD has your updated contact information on file, and sign up for AlertSense notifications through Chelan County Emergency Management. We will provide ongoing updates through email, social media, local news outlets, partner agencies, and on our outage page. If you rely on electricity for life-sustaining medical equipment, that is important information for us to know. Please sign up for the Medical Electrical Needs Registry, or call 509-661-8002. What will happen to my water service during a Fire Safety Outage? What if I or firefighters need this water to fight a fire? About half of the residents in Lake Wenatchee/Plain use a shared water system, and we are working with those water purveyors and Lake Wenatchee Fire & Rescue on preparing those systems with back-up power. Chelan PUD recognizes that many residents in that area use wells for their water source. Your best protection is preparation. You may want to consider back-up generation for your pump. We also encourage you to create defensible space and other Firewise measures to make your home and its immediate surroundings more resilient. You can find those resources – including potential grant opportunities – here: Fire Safety Outage Resources. How will residents and emergency responders communicate during a Fire Safety Outage? Chelan PUD is coordinating closely with telecommunications companies like Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, internet companies and emergency management agencies to coordinate best practices to maintain critical communications networks during power outages. I have a medical condition and rely on electricity. How can I prepare for a Fire Safety Outage? It is important for the PUD to be aware of customers who rely on life-sustaining equipment. If you or someone in your home is dependent on an oxygen machine, kidney dialysis machine, ventilator or other such equipment, please complete this form to be placed on our Medical Electric Needs Registry. You can also request a hard copy form by emailing CustomerRelations@chelanpud.org or calling 509-661-8002. Because the PUD cannot guarantee uninterrupted utility services, we encourage you to have a power outage preparedness plan such as proactively installing an emergency standby power supply to operate your medical equipment, obtaining backup equipment or arranging emergency assistance with friends or family. How do I prepare a tenant/vacation renter for a potential Fire Safety Outage? We are coordinating with property management agencies in the Phase I area to distribute information about fire safety outages among their rental properties. If you would like a copy of this information for your own rental property, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Why have there been so many power outages in the Plain/Lake Wenatchee area this summer? Starting this summer, the PUD implemented an operational change to prevent our system from causing sparks during wildfire season. Under typical operations, whenever there’s a disruption in the line – say a branch or a squirrel – the power will blink for a second then automatically restore. During fire season, we’re operating under different protocols to reduce the risk of fire. Instead of a blink, a disruption along the lines (transmission and distribution) will result in a power outage. Our crews, based in Leavenworth, will investigate the line and restore power when it’s safe to do so. This has resulted in more power outages.