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May 26, 2022 at 11:51am

Chugach taking steps to mitigate potential wildfire hazards

With the current dry, warm 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 powerline operations in the Anchorage Bowl, Tyonek, and Northern Kenai Peninsula. Crews are stepping up tree clearing efforts in Anchorage and the Cooper Landing area as well as long as fire danger is high.

The changes to powerline 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.

Additionally, Chugach is working with its tree clearing contractor to increase efforts 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 bringing trees to the ground.

Chugach took similar steps in April 2019 when the weather was hot and dry and wildfires were burning to the north and south of Anchorage. We will return powerline 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.

For more information, contact Julie Hasquet, (907) 717-9619