Talk of the town: Wildfire season – together we can be prepared
With rising temperatures and dry conditions ahead in Prescott and throughout Arizona, the state faces a heightened wildfire threat. According to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, the 2021 fire season is expected to be “as severe” as last year, which saw 2,520 wildfires that burned nearly 1 million acres across the state.
While May is National Wildfire Awareness Month, APS prepares for wildfire season year-round by:
-Making sure the area around our equipment is free of debris or vegetation.
-Working with local fire departments and the Forest Service on wildfire safety plans, this includes creating and following protocols to follow in the event of a wildfire.
-Partnering with communities to teach customers about lowering fire risks.
-Visually inspecting poles and equipment on a regular basis.
Every year, nine out of 10 wildfires are human-cased, which means that they may be preventable. APS encourages customers to take the following steps to help prevent fires and protect their property:
-When working outdoors, always have a water source and shovel nearby and never leave a burn unattended.
-Know before you go – check fire restriction information if you’re camping. If allowed, always put out a campfire completely by making sure it’s cool to the touch before you walk away.
-When towing a vehicle, make sure tow chains are secured and don’t have the potential to drag before you hit the road.
-Create defensible space on your property by clearing vegetation around your home and avoid planting any vegetation within a 10-foot radius around utility equipment on your property.
In addition to preparing for wildfire season year-round, APS takes extra steps to reduce the threat of wildfires during high-risk conditions. As part of the effort to mitigate wildfires, we may have to interrupt service or follow protocols that could prolong outages for high-risk areas as we work to protect the public, the environment, and critical electrical infrastructure.
We realize that any disruption of power is a major inconvenience to customers, and our protocols put only the safety of first responders, communities and our crews above the priority of providing reliable power.
Additional resources and tips on how to help mitigate fires are available at aps.com/wildfiresafety.
Wade Ward is a fire mitigation specialist for APS.