Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (2024)

For us, being prepared is a year-round effort to protect people, property and public spaces. This includes:

  • Inspecting, trimming and removing trees and shrubs that could cause trouble along our transmission and distribution lines.

  • Upgrading equipment, like replacing wood poles with fire-resistant poles, using insulated wire and enhancing our remote monitoring.

  • Working closely with local and state emergency managers, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, Tribes, fire districts and emergency responders to plan and coordinate on wildfire prevention and response.

Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (1)

View the full graphic of how we prepare Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (2). Encuentre detalles sobre cómo nos preparamos para la temporada de incendios forestales durante todo el año. Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (3)

We're using innovative technology to prevent fires

High-tech weather stations


AI cameras spot smoke


Keeping power lines clear


Making the grid more resilient


Here's what you can do

In historically wet, mild Oregon, summers are getting hotter and drier, resulting in longer fire seasons. Learn more about how you can:

  • Prepare your home

  • Prepare your business

Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (4)

Make a plan

Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (5)

Build an outage kit

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Update contact info

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You're invited!

Our wildfire plans include you. Yes, you! Come learn about our 2024 Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP) and share your thoughts as we develop our 2025 WMP at one of our Wildfire Ready events.

Learn more

Wildfire safety FAQs

In Oregon, fire season is a period of time when the combination of environmental factors and human activity increases the risk for wildfire. It usually starts around late spring (May or June) and lasts until fall (October or November).

Annually, PGE makes an internal fire season declaration, which initiates operational changes and different system protections that help reduce wildfire risk:

  • Heightened safety protocols and changes to the way we operate our system in certain areas.

  • Changes to work practices including the addition of fire-related tools and equipment on trucks for our crews.

  • Enhanced monitoring and communication in coordination with fire agencies, other public sector resources and utilities.

Preparation is a year-round effort, and everyone has a role to play. Planning checklists and resources are available on portlandgeneral.com/be prepared:

  • Have an emergency plan that includes where you can go in the event of an extended outage, especially if you rely on electricity for a medical condition or medication.

  • Create an outage kit with items including flashlights, headlamps, extra batteries, battery-powered clock or watch, car chargers for phones and electronic devices, bottled water for people and pets (including livestock, if your water pump relies on electricity), frozen cold packs or frozen water (bags or bottles) to help keep food cold.

  • Update your contact information with PGE so we can send you proactive notifications in the event of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). You can update your information online at portlandgeneral.com, use the PGE app or call PGE’s Customer Service team at

    503-228-6322 or 800-542-8818.

  • Contact your city or county emergency management office to learn how you actively reduce wildfire risk by establishing defensible space around your home or business. Defensible space is the buffer you create between your home or business and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surrounds it.

The safety of our customers and communities is one of PGE’s top priorities. We proactively and comprehensively work year-round across our service area to reduce the risk and impact of wildfires.

  • System hardening and equipment upgrades. We proactively maintain and upgrade our equipment to increase resilience, reduce outages and mitigate wildfire risk.

    • Deliberate and targeted approach to converting overhead power lines to underground power lines in High Fire Risk Zones.

    • Since 2019, we have installed almost 1,000 iron utility poles in specific areas to make our system more resilient against wildfire.

    • Installing covered conductor, which is an insulated overhead power line designed to bolster power reliability and reduce wildfire risk.

  • Vegetation Management. Our service area includes more than 2.2 million trees and approximately 12,000 miles of overhead power lines. We conduct routine, year-round tree-trimming and vegetation management. In addition to routine tree-trimming, we also conduct enhanced vegetation management in High Fire Risk Zones.

  • Remote monitoring. We have a network of over 30 Pano AI smoke detection cameras that provide 24/7 visual observation of High Fire Risk Zones with real-time data that alerts PGE and public safety partners of potential wildfire ignitions. This valuable information enables a faster emergency response by fire suppression agencies. Nearly 50 public safety partner agencies have direct access to this technology, with proven results of improving response time to fires.

  • Weather monitoring. PGE’s meteorologists monitor weather conditions daily. Our network of over 80 weather stations provides detailed weather data, which supports making operational decisions, including when we should initiate a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). We share our weather station data publicly to improve regional forecasting and aid in the analysis of extreme weather events.

  • Smart Grid technology. We have installed over 60 intelligent protective devices in our High Fire Risk Zones that are designed to sense when there is a problem on the line (for example, if a branch or other debris contacts it) and automatically shuts off the electricity to prevent damage.

    • PGE plans to install nearly 40 more of these devices in High Fire Risk Zones.

    • These smart switch devices can also be controlled by grid operators to increase operational flexibility, reduce outage duration and minimize the number of customers experiencing a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events.

    • These devices generate additional benefits by improving reliability in all seasons for customers and providing additional situational awareness for PGE.

  • Coordination. We work closely with local, state and federal agencies and Tribes to plan for wildfire and other emergencies. Collaborating with and maintaining strong relationships with these organizations helps us coordinate and plan for emergencies before they happen, so if an emergency happens, we are ready to work together.

  • Preparing our workforce. PGE invests in recruitment, training, tools, and professional development across our organization. Building a competent, capable work force enables PGE to work to prevent wildfires and respond effectively to wildfire-related outages or Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

High Fire Risk Zones (HFRZ) are areas within PGE’s service area that are at higher risk for wildfire and more likely to experience a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). The pre-identified areas include:

  1. Mt. Hood Corridor / Foothills

  2. Columbia River Gorge

  3. Oregon City

  4. Estacada

  5. Scotts Mills

  6. Portland West Hills

  7. Tualatin Mountains

  8. Northwest Hills

  9. Central West Hills

  10. Southern West Hills

  11. Salem Hills

As part of the management and evaluation of our operations, PGE identified areas at higher risk for wildfire using the latest scientific data and risk modeling. We evaluate thousands of data points, variables, and scenarios including the proximity to fire response services, remoteness, egress options for evacuation, and historic drought and weather conditions.

The High Fire Risk Zones reflect PGE’s collaboration with external stakeholders across our service area, including fire physics experts, the Oregon Department of Forestry, Clackamas, Tualatin, and Multnomah fire districts among others.

This robust analysis helps inform our strategic investments and capital improvements to improve the grid’s resiliency and reduce wildfire risk.

Visit portlandgeneral.com/wildfire to view an interactive map that shows the high-risk areas.

Pano AI fire detection cameras provide 24/7 visual observation throughout the High Fire Risk Zones as well as large portions of PGE’s service area with real-time data that can alert PGE and public safety partners of potential wildfire ignitions. These ultra-high-definition camera systems give PGE and public safety partners a 360-degree fire detection triangulation capability across its service area, accurate to within 100 yards.

The camera platform’s machine learning algorithms automate fire detection, awareness, and notifications, helping expand and improve regional fire detection resources. These real-time data feeds and predictive capabilities allow PGE to proactively manage risks, enable a faster emergency response by fire suppression agencies, and minimize the spread of wildfires.

Nearly 50 public safety partner agencies (fire, emergency management, communications) are actively using PGE’s camera network.

In August 2023, the Pano AI fire detection camera network played an important role supporting first responders during a lightning-caused wildfire in the Bull Run Watershed, a critical water source for over 1 million people in the greater Portland metro area. At night, the cameras pinpointed the ignition location of what would become the Camp Creek Fire, and provided high-definition, live-streaming video of the fire to PGE and key emergency response agencies. The cameras showed the fire area's fuel type, behavior, and rate-of-spread, and gave the incident management team more than four hours of advanced planning time than if the fire had been reported at daybreak by traditional detection methods.

ODF and other federal, Tribal, state, and local fire departments and land management agencies consistently provide positive feedback to PGE about their access and use of Pano AI cameras. The early detection information and triangulation accuracy provided by the camera network is increasing crew deployment efficiency and initial attack speed.

Watch: AI cameras spot smoke

Our network of over 80 weather stations provides weather data at a granular level. This real-time data delivers deeper understanding and forecasting about how weather could impact our system as well as broader weather awareness across our service area. We share our weather station data publicly to improve regional forecasting and aid the analysis of extreme weather events. You can find PGE’s weather data on the National Weather Service’s Weather & Hazards Data Viewer and MesoWest Surface Weather Maps.

In addition to the weather station data, our meteorologists closely monitor fire activity briefings, fire potential forecasts, and fire weather forecasts before and during fire season from National Weather Service offices around the region, including Portland, Seattle, Pendleton, and Medford.

Watch: High-tech weather stations

PGE has protective devices on some power lines that, under normal operating conditions, will detect when there is a potential issue on the line (e.g., if a branch or other debris contacts it) and automatically turns off the electricity to prevent damage.

Under normal conditions, these devices will make up to three attempts to restore power, and if the issue is resolved, power will automatically be restored. However, if after the third attempt, the device still detects an issue, it will keep that line de-energized, at which point, PGE crews go out and visually inspect the line.

During fire season, we enhance the sensitivity settings on the protective devices, so if they detect an issue, they will only make one attempt to restore power before remaining de-energized. These settings reduce the time a line is energized and help prevent a potentially damaged line from being re-energized before we can inspect it and determine it is safe.

Due to these enhanced sensitivity settings, customers in areas at higher risk for wildfire may experience longer outages while crews in the field inspect powerlines and other equipment before the power can be safely turned back on.

The National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning when weather conditions include unseasonably warm, dry, and windy conditions that elevate the risk of a potential wildfire. Red Flag Warnings are issued when fire conditions are ongoing or expected to occur shortly. More information is available on the NWS website.

PGE has protective devices on our power lines in some areas of High Fire Risk Zones that detect when there's a potential issue on the line (e.g., if a branch or other debris contacts it) and automatically turns off the electricity to prevent damage.

On days when the National Weather Service calls a Red Flag Warning, or when PGE determines there is an elevated risk of fire, we enhance the sensitivity settings on those devices, so they will operate faster and won’t attempt to restore power to the line. If the device detects a potential issue, it will keep power off until our crews can visually inspect the lines.

That means any weather-related outages may take longer than normal to restore, because our crews will have to wait for conditions to improve and then visually inspect the lines for damage, and complete any needed repairs, before power can safely be restored.

Regardless of the season or time of year, everyone has a part to play when it comes to readiness.


Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (12)

Find b-roll of interviews with subject matter experts and images of wildfire prevention efforts.


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Get the latest company statements pertaining to recent outages.


Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (14)

The PGE app for Android and iPhone is the simplest way to pay a bill, report an outage, and customize alerts.


Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (15)

For real-time updates on outages and restoration visit us on Twitter and Facebook.

Wildfire Safety | Wildfire Prevention Measures (2024)


What are the safety measures for wildfires? ›

Go to an area clear of vegetation, a ditch or depression on level ground if possible. Consider moving to a large water body, if nearby. Lie face down, cover up your body. Use your cell phone to advise officials—call 911.

How are we preventing wildfires? ›

Learn how to properly use outdoor equipment; burn debris safely; start, maintain, and extinguish a campfire; maintain a vehicle and tow safely; and practice fire-safe target shooting to name a few. Check out on-line resources to learn about wildfire prevention in your state or area.

What are the messages for wildfire prevention? ›

Have enough water and people nearby to control the fire, avoid burning on dry, hot, windy days, and never leave any fire unattended. Take individual responsibility to reduce flammable material around homes and communities before a fire occurs to keep your property and firefighters safe.

Why is Smokey the Bear controversial? ›

For much of the last century, Smokey was the pitchman for the federal government's aggressive wildfire suppression policy. That tactic, some scientists believe, may have contributed along with climate change to making American forests vulnerable long-term to combustion. They call it “the Smokey Bear effect.”

What are 5 ways to stay safe during a wildfire? ›

Stay Safe During a Wildfire
  • Keep smoke outside.
  • Reduce your smoke exposure by wearing a respirator [PDF – 329 KB].
  • Pets and other animals can be affected by wildfire smoke too.
  • Keep track of fires near you so you can be ready.
  • Pay attention to any health symptoms if you have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant.

How to stay safe in a wildfire for kids? ›

  1. If you're advised to evacuate then do so immediately.
  2. Wear protective clothing.
  3. Lock your home.
  4. Tell someone you left and where you are going.
  5. Choose a safe route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.

How do you prepare and prevent a wildfire? ›

Getting ready for wildfire begins with two very important efforts: Home Hardening and Defensible Space. Hardening your home is retrofitting it with fire resistant materials. Defensible Space is creating and maintaining a buffer between buildings and vegetation to slow fire spread.

How can cities prevent wildfires? ›

Wildfires in California can be minimized by using building construction methods that reduce building ignition and maintaining defensible space.

What is the main cause of wildfires? ›

Humans cause nearly 90% of wildfires in the United states1 via discarded cigarettes, unattended campfires, burning debris, or through equipment malfunctions. Although less common, wildfires can also occur though non-human phenomena, such as lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions.

How do you write a fire prevention plan? ›

At a minimum, your fire prevention plan must include: A list of all major fire hazards, proper handling and storage procedures for hazardous materials, potential ignition sources and their control, and the type of fire protection equipment necessary to control each major hazard.

What is wildfire preparedness list? ›

Your 'Go Bag' checklist
  • A 3-day supply of non-perishable food & 3 gallons of water per person.
  • A map with at least 2 evacuation routes.
  • Necessary prescriptions or medications.
  • A change of clothes & extra eyeglasses/contact lenses.
  • Extra car keys, credit cards, cash, or traveler's checks.
  • A first aid kit & sanitation supplies.

Why are wildfires bad? ›

Wildfires release carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming, and in severe cases, irreparably damaging forests ecosystems. The resulting smoke and haze can travel miles, creating public health crises as people breathe in unhealthy levels of pollutants.

Who says only you can prevent forest fires? ›

Smokey Bear is always reminding those driving past, “Only you can prevent wildfires.” That's his message, and it often means you're in a national forest or any number of public lands ready to enjoy all that nature has to offer.

Who can prevent forest fires? ›

Private landowners can apply to contract with CAL FIRE to reduce the fire hazard on their property by creating fuel breaks.

How can we prevent wildfires from climate change? ›

Steps we can take to help prevent extreme wildfires and the societal and environmental damage they cause include cutting greenhouse gas emissions, improving forest management and learning to better prepare for fire.

What technology helps prevent wildfires? ›

Other firetech startups include Overstory, which is using AI to work with utility companies to analyse satellite data and identify wildfire risk from vegetation growing near power lines. California-based Rain is working with fire agencies to use autonomous drones that use sensors to identify fires before they rage out ...

How have states and the government responded to the wildfire environment? ›

While nearly ten thousand firefighters continue to battle three major wildfires in California, state and federal agencies are strategically co-located and working around the clock to coordinate resources, provide assistance to survivors and help local communities begin the long road of recovery.

How to help California wildfires? ›

  1. Before volunteering, ensure that you and your family are safe and prepared for wildfire season by visiting ReadyForWildfire.org. ...
  2. Offer to help evacuate a neighbor affected by wildfire. ...
  3. Offer to pick up groceries or run errands for disabled, immunocompromised or older adults.


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