Powering Strong Communities
Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Wildfire Mitigation Planning

Resources to help public power develop a wildfire mitigation plan.

Wildfires are substantial threats to a growing number of communities and infrastructure, so it is essential for public power utilities to adopt proactive measures in risk management and mitigation. Wildfire mitigation planning is crucial for public power utilities to ensure the resilience and reliability of electricity supply, reduce risks and associated costs, enhance public safety, and comply with regulatory standards. The American Public Power Association curated the following collection of resources to assist utilities in crafting their wildfire mitigation plans. Accessing these tools, expertise, and strategies can help utilities develop a robust wildfire mitigation plan to effectively address wildfire risks and protect their communities from the devastating effects of wildfires.

The Importance of Mitigation Planning

Investing in wildfire mitigation not only protects utility infrastructure but also contributes to the overall safety, reliability, and sustainability of the communities served. By implementing proactive measures such as vegetation management and strategic equipment placement, utilities can minimize the impact of wildfires on operations and community well-being. Effective mitigation planning also supports long-term sustainability by integrating climate-resilient practices into utility operations and fostering adaptive strategies to manage evolving risks.
 

Creating a Mitigation Plan

Creating and implementing a wildfire mitigation plan involves first fully understanding the potential risks and vulnerabilities facing different parts of your service territory when it comes to wildfire, including unique hardships various community members might face in mitigating risk. Once you understand the risks to your assets and within your community, you can then establish clear goals, identify relevant mitigation strategies, and sketch out an action plan for implementing the strategies in an achievable time frame. An effective wildfire mitigation plan involves community collaboration and regular updates in response to changing conditions or new information.

Assess for Risk and Vulnerabilities

Various factors contribute to the likelihood that wildfires will occur in or spread across a specific area. This includes environmental conditions such as vegetation density, weather patterns (like drought and high temperatures), topography, and human activities like land use and ignition sources. In recent years, wildfire risk has increased, including in areas that have previously not experienced much risk. This is driven by rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, and human activities such as urban expansion into wildland areas, increased use of fire-prone landscapes for agriculture or recreation, and inadequate land management practices.

According to data from the National Interagency Fire Center, the average annual acreage burned by wildfires has more than doubled since the 1980s. In California alone, several record-breaking wildfire seasons from 2015 to 2020 led to significant impacts on communities and critical infrastructure, including seeing more than 4 million acres burned in 2020.

Resources for Utilities and Public Facilities

Resources for Homes and Businesses

Creating Strategies and Action Plans

Putting your plan into action means carefully thinking through the priorities and low-hanging fruit to achieving your goal(s). It’s also about recognizing the opportunities for partnering with state and local agencies and organizations and in getting funding or other resources to be able to carry out aspects of the plan.

Sample mitigation plans and templates

Collaboration and Funding Opportunities

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