Chugach taking steps to mitigate potential wildfire hazards
With the current dry weather conditions and high fire danger, Chugach Electric Association, Inc., is taking steps to mitigate wildfire risks in its service territory, some of which could lengthen power outage times.
Chugach is taking temporary measures to power line operations in the Anchorage Bowl, Tyonek, and Northern Kenai Peninsula. Crews will also be stepping up tree clearing on the Anchorage Hillside as long as the fire danger remains high.
The changes to power line operations include the response to re-energizing a power line. Under normal conditions, Chugach’s lines are re-energized automatically following a short-circuit. Often, if the short-circuit is temporary in nature, this action will remove the short-circuit and restore power almost immediately. However, during the current dry weather conditions, Chugach will let the circuit stand open until Chugach’s line personnel can physically patrol an outage area before a line is placed back into service. This temporary change in how we respond could lead to longer outage times.
“With fires burning to the north and south of us, we believe taking proactive steps to mitigate any fire danger is the right thing to do,” said Chugach CEO Lee Thibert. “Having our crews physically patrol an area before a line is re-energized is prudent action to take in these conditions. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our members during this time.”
Additionally, Chugach is working with its tree clearing contractor to increase efforts on the Anchorage Hillside to clear dead and dangerous trees from the right-of-way. Crews will be looking for potential problem areas and clearing trees under or near power lines. If trees are outside of the right-of-way and considered a potential hazard, crews will work with property owners to secure permission before clearing a tree.
Chugach will return power line operations to normal as soon as weather and conditions permit. If you see trees close to, or in contact with, Chugach powerlines, please report them to the danger tree hotline (907) 762-7227.