Support Will Fund Fuel-Reduction Projects in Six National Forests in California
As part of its continuing efforts to further mitigate wildfire risks across Northern and Central California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has donated nearly $5 million to the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region to fund fuel reduction projects and purchase equipment that will be used in six national forests located throughout the state.
The U.S. Forest Service intends to use the funds for fuel-reduction projects in 5,870 acres through the various forests. Projects will include prescribed pile burning, mechanical thinning and bio-mass removal for mulching.
Additionally, the funds will allow the Forest Service to purchase new fuel-reducing equipment such as machine saws, mastication heads, grapple machinery, wood chippers and trailers, which will enable more in-house work and faster reaction times to complete needed work.
The program will fund and facilitate the completion of required NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) surveys and documentation needed to treat the forests with fuel reduction activities.
"PG&E is focused on public safety and finding additional ways to reduce the risk of wildfires. It will take all of us -- community leaders, first responders, federal agencies, state leaders and energy companies – working together to provide customers and communities with the safest energy possible given California’s rapidly changing environment. Our support of the Forest Service is one example of how partnerships benefit all of us," said Debbie Powell, Vice President of Asset Risk Management and PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program.
California faces an increasing threat from catastrophic wildfires, severe weather and higher temperatures, and recent state and federal climate assessments warn the threat is only growing. In 2012, just 15 percent of PG&E's service area was designated by the California Public Utilities Commission as having an elevated wildfire risk. Today, it's more than 50 percent.
"We appreciate PG&E’s generous contribution to the U.S Forest Services fuel-reduction efforts," said Brian Rhodes, Deputy Director of Fire & Aviation Management for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service. "Six national forests located within PG&E’s service area, from Six Rivers in the north to Sequoia in the Sierra Nevada, will be less prone to wildfires due to this work and equipment."
Other national forests that are part of this effort include Shasta, Plumas, Stanislaus and Los Padres.
2020 National Forest Service Reduction Program Funding
Los Padres National Forest
Plumas National Forest
Shasta National Forest
Sequoia National Forest
Six Rivers National Forest
Stanislaus National Forest
PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program includes real-time monitoring and intelligence capabilities, new and enhanced safety measures and hardening our electric system. Some examples including expanding the network of weather stations and high-definition cameras in high fire-risk areas, doing enhanced vegetation management work to keep trees away from power lines and installing covered power lines and more resilient utility poles. For more information please see www.pge.com/wildfiresafety/
Multiple factors contribute to wildfire risk and an extended fire season across PG&E's service area. Prolonged periods of high temperatures, extreme dryness, tinder-dry grass and record-high winds combined with vast tree mortality following a historic five-year drought are increasing the number of wildfires and making them more dangerous.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.
About U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The USDA Forest Service manages 18 national forests in the Pacific Southwest Region, which encompasses over 20 million acres across California, and assists state and private forest landowners in California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. National forests supply 50 percent of the water in California and form the watershed of most major aqueducts and more than 2,400 reservoirs throughout the state. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender