As part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP), Pacific Gas and
Electric Company (PG&E) announced that it is expanding its network of
weather stations and high-definition cameras to improve the company’s
ability to predict and respond to extreme wildfire danger. By the end of
2019, PG&E plans to have at least 600 weather stations and 100
high-definition cameras in high fire-threat areas. These new
installations are one of the many additional precautionary measures the
company is implementing following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires to further
reduce wildfire risks.
“The enhanced meteorological data we are receiving from these weather
stations is bolstering our ability to forecast high fire-risk weather
conditions with further granularity so that we can take swift action to
protect public safety,” said PG&E CWSP Vice President Sumeet Singh.
“Personnel at PG&E’s 24/7 Wildfire Safety Operations Center will use
these weather stations and cameras to better monitor wildfire risks and
coordinate prevention and response efforts, and the data is shared
publicly and with agencies such as CAL FIRE.”
New weather stations installed in more than 35 counties
Building on the 200 weather stations it installed in 2018, PG&E has
added an additional 200 weather stations in 2019 to capture localized,
real-time data related to temperature, wind speeds and humidity levels.
Approximately 400 new weather stations are scheduled to be installed in
2019, prioritized in areas at elevated and extreme risk for wildfires,
based on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) High
Fire-Threat District Map.
To help protect customers and communities during extreme weather events,
electric power may be shut off for public safety in an effort to prevent
a wildfire. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). PG&E’s
meteorologists will feed data from these new stations to the company’s
Wildfire Safety Operations Center team, where it can be utilized to help
inform actions such as PSPS.
Before any PSPS, PG&E will carefully review a combination of criteria
including predictions of strong winds and very low humidity levels;
additional weather stations will assist PG&E’s Meteorology team to
better predict conditions specific to local geographic areas. Data
collected by the weather stations is available to state and local
agencies and the public through online sources such as the National
Weather Service and MesoWest.
“These new weather stations help us monitor conditions around the clock,
improving our ability to understand when and where it is necessary to
take this precautionary action in the interest of public safety,” said
Aaron Johnson, PG&E vice president of Electric Operations.
Counties that have already received weather stations include Alameda,
Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno,
Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino,
Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, San
Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano,
Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne and Yuba.
HD cameras being installed throughout high fire-threat areas
PG&E has installed 25 of the 100 high-definition cameras planned for
this year. The company has now installed 34 HD cameras since 2018, with
a goal of installing 600 new cameras by 2022 as part of the
ALERTWildfire Camera Network. The ALERTWildfire Camera Network is a
situational awareness tool built by the University of California, San
Diego, the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Oregon. The
high-definition, pan-tilt-zoom cameras allow firefighters, first
responders and companies like PG&E to confirm and monitor potential
The system is used by fire managers and has been instrumental in
tracking more than 500 fires since it was first developed in 2013.
Images from the ALERTWildfire system are viewable online at www.alertwildfire.org.
Counties that have received cameras so far include Amador, El Dorado,
Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mariposa, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Shasta,
Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.
Community Wildfire Safety Program
In addition to improving real-time monitoring and intelligence
capabilities, other actions PG&E is taking as part of CWSP include
putting in place new and enhanced safety measures and doing more over
the long-term to strengthen the safety and resiliency of the electric
grid in an effort to further reduce future wildfire risks. More
information can be found at pge.com/wildfiresafety.
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 24,000 employees, the company delivers some of
the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and
Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/