The risk associated with wildland fires is growing throughout western North America. Utility planners and operations personnel are tasked with assessing risks and implementing corrective measures. This track will cover the breadth of the issue from analysis of risks to implementing pro-active mitigations and responding to fire events. Electric utility professionals who are involved in assessing and managing wildfire risk and major events will find these sessions of particular interest.

This track is sponsored by:

Meet the Wildfire Program Development Team. Learn more about the Operations Conference.

April 15, 2020

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
The Burning Question – How to Quantify Wildfire Risk
Speakers: David James, Wildfire Resiliency Plan Manager, Avista Corp.
Tom Rolinski, Fire Scientist, Southern California Edison
David Buckley, COO, Technosylva
Tom Martin, Managing Director of Product, Trove
Assessing a utility’s potential ‘risks’ is foundational to making prudent decisions to operate, inspect, and maintain systems. Wildfire risk has become a more and more common problem. Due to the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires, as well as ever-changing public policy, utilities are being tasked with shifting towards real-time risk-based systems. Come learn from the experts on how data is being used to understand these catastrophic events with quantifiable risk and witness real life use cases where this modeling has helped inform operational needs, mitigation planning, and emergency response.

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Take Action! – Best Practices for Wildfire Mitigation
Speakers: Travis McDonnell, Manager, Forestry Planning, ATCO Electric
Ray Riemann, Project Engineer/DM, Power Engineers, Inc.
Jerry Donovan, Senior Project Manager – Utility Asset Management Special Projects, Portland General Electric
With recent wildfire events on the minds of government, customers and the public, North American electric utilities are employing a broad range of strategies to reduce the risk of fire ignition from T&D operations and to protect assets from wildfires. Those professionals responsible for managing these systems need cost-effective and proven solutions. From remote sensing and vegetation management to grid hardening and enhanced situational awareness actions, hear from the experts researching, developing and applying innovative approaches to meet these challenges.

April 16, 2020

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
PSPS – De-Energization of Electric Circuits for Fire Prevention
Speakers: Tracy Maratukulam, Chief of Staff, Electric Operations, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Kyle Ferree, Advisor, PSPS Operations, Southern California Edison
Travis Parks, District Manager, Southern California Edison
Public Safety Power Shutoff has entered the mainstream of public discourse.  Pre-emptively de-energization of transmission and distribution lines is a major component of California’s plan to mitigate fire risk.  PSPS represents combined efforts of utility employees, community leaders, government leaders, and emergency first responders in order to effectively manage a power shutoff event.  Utility system elements including weather-risk forecasting, operations decision-making, public warnings, execution, and restoration are vital elements of PSPS and are being ‘field-tested’ throughout the state of California.  This session explores the anatomy of an event from early warning triggers to system restoration.  This is a must-attend event and should not be missed.

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Emergency Response – Utility Integration during Fire Events
Speakers: Tara Fraser, Fire Marshal, BC Hydro
Andy Delmas, Acting Idaho State AFMO, Fire Planner, Idaho BLM
Matt Ugaldea, Transmission System Forester, Avista Corp.
As growth continues to push development further into wildland areas, the threat of wildfire has become a significant risk in many communities. In this session, you will learn from utility and fire protection professionals how a utility can effectively align its planning and response efforts to ensure coordinated wildfire planning and response. Topics will include Community Wildfire Protection Plans, the Incident Command System as well the utility’s role in wildfire incident response.