Wildfire Planning + Mitigation – Virtual (May 19-20)

This program will bring together senior leaders responsible for wildfire planning and mitigation strategies at WEI member companies for an interactive peer to peer session. We will focus on sharing and discussing best practices around strategies for planning, operations, technology and various other tactics to mitigate and plan for wildfires.

Register Now

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Dave James, Wildfire Resiliency Program Manager, Avista Corp.

    • Program Location
    • Virtual Event
    • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific time. Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided to the attendee before the program.
    • Who Should Attend
    • Directors and senior leaders responsible for their energy companies wildfire planning and mitigation strategies.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $199 USD

    Registration includes access to forum sessions, meeting materials and roster.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • To best serve WEI members and program participants during the COVID-19 pandemic, WEI will be waiving its standard cancellation policy for this virtual program. Registrants can receive a full refund should they need to cancel their registration up to the day before the program begins.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Jessica Grant, Program Manager at (971) 255-4970.


All session times are listed in Pacific time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

12:15 PM - 12:30 PM

Virtual Help Desk + Technology Check

The room will open early with optional time for participants to get familiar with the virtual platform, test their audio and webcam, or ask questions about the agenda before we begin.

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

Welcome + Introductions

1:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Managing the Risk of Wildfires: Making the Case for Fundamental Change
Speaker(s): Greg Hesler, VP, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Ethics/Compliance Officer, Avista Corp.

Hear why utilities need a wildfire plan and how to navigate the liability landscape of wildfires.

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM


2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Working with Fire Protection Agencies: Before, During + After an Event
Speaker(s): Angie Lane, Assistant Division Manager, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, JB Brock, Emergency Services Manager, Union County

Learn how fire protection agencies are structured and what they need from their utility partners; before, during and after an event. This panel will include perspectives from Oregon and Washington.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

8:15 AM - 9:15 AM

The Utility’s Role After an Event: Navigating Liability + Remediation Landscape
Speaker(s): Paul Kimmell, Regional Business Manager, Palouse, Avista Utilities

Understand the utility’s role following a catastrophic wildfire. Malden, Washington – September 2020

9:15 AM - 9:30 AM


9:30 AM - 10:45 AM

A Practitioner's Guide to Fire Risk Modeling
Speaker(s): Bruce Blackwell, Principal, M.Sc., RPF, R.P.Bio., B.A. Blackwell & Associates Ltd., Jay Landstrom, Sr. Manager Wildfire Analytics, Portland General Electric, Darin Johnson, President, BIS Consulting, LLC

Wildfire risk modelling for utilities is a rapidly developing field. This session will explore different approaches that can inform mitigation strategies.

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM


11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

The Wildfire Journey + System Protection Roundtable
Moderator(s): Jack Shearman, CEO, UMS Group Inc.
Speaker(s): Dene Ward, Network Risk & Assurance Manager, Powercor Australia, Cameron McPherson, Sr. Manager, Key Initiatives & New Technology, Southern California Edison, Joe Lake, Senior Associate, IWRMC Program Manager, UMS Group Inc., Jeff Shiles, Principal Manager, Protection & Automation Engineering, Southern California Edison, Caroline Miller, Sr Advisor, Grid Resiliency, Southern California Edison

In this session we will hear about the wildfire journeys of two major utilities from Australia and California. The session will conclude with a roundtable Q&A focused on System Protection Strategies for mitigating wildfire risk.

Topics covered in the wildfire journey presentations will include historical context for each utility (fires experienced, changes over the last several years, etc.); the state of the regulatory environment in each region; organizational triggers for expanding focus on wildfire mitigation; challenges encountered and advances made; most important areas of focus for each company today; and ways for the industry to come together in the pursuit of continuous improvement.

12:15 PM - 12:30 PM

Wrap Up + Future Planning

Provide input about what content should be part of the 2022 Forum.

Meet The Speakers

Angie Lane

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Assistant Division Manager
Learn More

Angie Lane is the Assistant Division Manager for Plans and Information in the DNR Wildfire Division headquarters office in Olympia. She has a Bachelor’s of Science from Eastern Oregon University in Multi-disciplinary Studies, and a Graduate Certificate from Oregon State University in Sustainable Natural Resources. Angie has worked in the fire protection arena for nearly 22 years. Prior to working for DNR, Angie worked for Oregon Office of Emergency Management as Oregon’s State Hazard Mitigation Officer. Angie has also worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) as a National Fire Plan Planning Coordinator where she supported counties and facilitated the process for developing Community Wildfire Protection Plans and garnered grant funding for fuels treatment projects, as well as served as a fire manager (Unit Forester) for one of the most active fire units in the state of Oregon, and as a Policy Analyst and Civil Penalties Administrator in the Private Forests Division of ODF.

Greg Hesler

Avista Corp.

VP, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Ethics/Compliance Officer

Paul Kimmell

Avista Utilities

Regional Business Manager, Palouse
Learn More

Paul J. Kimmell is the Palouse regional business/public affairs manager with Avista Corporation. He holds a BS in Geography/Urban Planning from Illinois State University and did graduate work at the University of Idaho in the College of Mines. Kimmell is also a graduate of the Washington State AgForestry Leadership Program.

Kimmell has held positions with Boise Cascade Corporation, Wyoming State Land Office and was Chief Title Officer with Security Title of Baltimore in Colorado Springs. Kimmell also served as North Idaho Regional Director for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Executive Director of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and was a three-term Latah County commissioner from 1999 to 2007. Kimmell was elected president of the Idaho Association of Commissioners and Clerks in 2004, chaired the Idaho Cities and Counties Taskforce and recognized as Idaho’s Outstanding County Official in 2006.

He currently serves as a board chair to the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee, and presently serves on the board for Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport Board, Partnership for Economic Prosperity, Innovia Foundation Grants Committee, AWB Rural Jobs Taskforce, and chairman of the Inland Northwest Partners and the Inland Northwest Economic Alliance. Additionally, Kimmell was recently appointed to Idaho Governor Little’s Idaho Economic Advisory Council. He recently completed his fourth term as chair of the Avista Employees for Effective Government PAC. Kimmell resides with his wife Constance on the family farm near Viola, Idaho.

Bruce Blackwell

B.A. Blackwell & Associates Ltd.

Principal, M.Sc., RPF, R.P.Bio.

Jay Landstrom

Portland General Electric

Sr. Manager Wildfire Analytics

Darin Johnson

BIS Consulting, LLC

Learn More

Darin Johnson is the President and director of the asset management practice at BIS Consulting, LLC. His experience includes risk analysis, business cases, and life-cycle cost analysis for electric T&D and generation, water/wastewater, and transit facilities. One area of focus is decision-support methods for evaluating mitigation options of big risks, such as seismic and wildfire.

Jack Shearman

UMS Group Inc.


Dene Ward

Powercor Australia

Network Risk & Assurance Manager

Cameron McPherson

Southern California Edison

Sr. Manager, Key Initiatives & New Technology

Joe Lake

UMS Group Inc.

Senior Associate, IWRMC Program Manager

Jeff Shiles

Southern California Edison

Principal Manager, Protection & Automation Engineering

JB Brock

Union County

Emergency Services Manager

Caroline Miller

Southern California Edison

Sr Advisor, Grid Resiliency