California utility regulators sign off on map showing statewide fire risks
California utility regulators Friday approved a long-awaited map showing the risk of utility-connected wildfires throughout the state, a measure expected to help electricity companies comply with new safety rules adopted last month.
The fire threat map adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission outlines areas of the state with elevated risk or extreme risk of utility-associated fires. In conjunction with other hazard zones identified by Cal Fire, the map shows electric utilities where they will need to follow the commission’s higher safety standards.
The most recent version of the map, filed in November, shows almost the entire North Coast at elevated risk, with the largest section of extreme risk in the region concentrated in east and northeast Sonoma County, northwest and west Napa County southwest Lake County and southeast Mendocino County. Many of those areas burned in last year’s historic and deadly wildfires.
Starting Oct. 31, public utilities will have to file annual reports that include safety plans for power lines located in fire-prone areas, according to the commission. New fire safety rules will apply no later than Sept. 1 in the extreme risk areas shown on the map.