Wildfire Mitigation & Preparedness
Wildfire Mitigation: A Top Priority at OTEC
Wildfire Mitigation is a top priority at Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative. For OTEC, which operates in heavily forested areas across four counties in Eastern Oregon - much of it state and federal land - mitigating wildfire hazards is a significant part of providing safe and reliable electricity to its member-owners and the communities where we live and serve.
OTEC revised and formalized its Wildfire Mitigation Plan in 2022. The plan outlines OTEC's programs to adapt its electric system to evolving fire-related conditions, implementing new technologies to detect issues before they arise and enhancing operational practices to mitigate the potential for ignition.
Public Safety Power Shutoff
What is a Public Safety Power Shutoff?
One way to reduce the threat of wildfires during elevated weather events is to proactively shut off power temporarily. This is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff or PSPS. Weather conditions calling for a possible PSPS would include high winds (including Red Flag warning by the National Weather Service), low humidity and dry vegetation that could serve as fuel.
OTEC has protocols in place for deciding if or when to execute a PSPS. PSPS events are temporary and are meant to keep OTEC member-owners and communities safe.
Preparing Your Home for Wildfire Season
Is Your Home and Property Prepared for Wildfire Season?
One of the most basic tips for wildfire preparation is creating defensible space around your home - thinning or removing trees and brush and picking up pine needles, grasses and finer fuels.
Homeowners should focus on three home ignition zones: Immediate Zone (the home itself and 0-5 ft), Intermediate Zone (5-30 feet) and the Extended Zone (30-100 feet).
While full-scale tree (brush) thinning or removal might not need to be done on an annual basis, pine needles, grasses and finer fuels need to be addressed at least once if not twice a year.
Ready Set Go
When an emergency occurs, do you know when to stay and when to go?
Oregon has a program called Ready, Set, Go. When the Ready (Level 1) notice is issued, residents are encouraged to be prepared to go and have a plan to evacuate. Also, it's a good idea to monitor local news and social media for information and to sign up for your county's emergency alert system.
When the Set (Level 2) notice is issued, residents need to be prepared to leave. This level means there is a significant danger in the area and residents should load their "go-bag" in the car and be ready to leave. If there is time before leaving, write EVACUATED on a pillowcase and hang near the end of the driveway to let emergency personnel know the property is evacuated.
And finally, if the Go (Level 3) notice is issued, all residents need to evacuate immediately. There is not time to grab emergency kits or make efforts to protect property.
Again, it is recommended you sign up for your county's emergency notification system. You can do that now by clicking on your county's link below: