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Column: May is National Wildfire Awareness Month
APS continues year round fire prevention approach across Arizona

May is National Wildfire Awareness Month. (Photo/APS)

May is National Wildfire Awareness Month. (Photo/APS)

PHOENIX — While May is recognized as National Wildfire Awareness Month, Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) continues its year-round approach to preventing and combating wildfires.

Through its multipronged strategy, APS aims to reduce wildfire risk, strengthen its power grid to withstand unpredictable fires, maintain reliable service and keep the public and first responders safe.

“Arizona’s elevated wildfire activity is unpredictable and that’s why we prepare year-round,” said Wade Ward, Supervisor of Fire Mitigation at APS. “APS’s fire preparedness strategy includes long- and short- term planning, ongoing system upgrades, grid technology innovations, industry best practices, state and federal agency partnerships and public awareness.”

APS Fire Mitigation approach includes

• Annual inspections of more than 5,000 miles of overhead power lines, ensuring rights-of-way are clear of overgrown vegetation.

• Creating defensible space at least 10’ around electrical infrastructure, including poles and substations.

• Working with communities, the public and emergency response agencies to update emergency preparedness plans.

• Advanced grid technology to detect and manage wildfire risks.

• Enhanced outage restoration protocols to reduce fire risk during elevated fire conditions.

• Communicating with customers in the event of a power outage due to wildfires.

What you can do to reduce wildfire risk:

• Remove overgrown vegetation, trash, or debris in and around your property.

• Make sure there is no vegetation around poles or other electrical equipment on your property.

• Have an emergency preparedness plan and go-kit with supplies, such as flashlights, batteries, a portable cell phone charger and extra water.

• Sign up for APS outage alerts and download the APS app to receive updates on service interruptions and times of restoration.

While providing reliable electric service and promptly restoring power after an outage are top priorities, the safety of our communities and first responders takes precedence.

During elevated fire conditions, we may have to prolong power outages until crews can perform visual inspections of lines and remove any vegetation or potential hazards near electric equipment. In the event of an active fire, power lines may be temporarily taken out of service to protect firefighters, which could result in outages that might last longer than usual.

Information provided by APS

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