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Tree Trimming Improves Reliability and Safety

May 19, 2021

Forester prunes fir trees near power line

To help prevent tree-related electrical outages and mitigate wildfire risk, we proactively prune trees and remove brush year-round to help keep our equipment clear.

Each year, crews trim more than 300 overhead line miles of vegetation to minimize falling trees and branches to avoid outages and increase the reliability of the electric system. In addition to decreasing the number and duration of outages, our vegetation management program also mitigates the risk of wildfire by keeping trees and branches away from power lines.

In 2021, for example, crews will inspect and prune about 266 line miles in Eugene and about 80 line miles in the McKenzie River Valley as part of the regular program, said Shane Tennison, EWEB's Vegetation Management Program supervisor and a licensed arborist.

For the past three years, the crews have paid particular attention to areas within our service territory that are at high risk for wildfires.

In April, crews started inspecting these high-risk areas - the South Hills of Eugene, the McKenzie River Valley and west Eugene - and are on pace to trim an additional 125 overhead line miles by June.

"To inspect and prune an additional 125 line miles in these fire hazard areas is significant," Tennison said.

In 2020, crews inspected and pruned about 250 line miles specifically for fire protection in high-risk areas.

"We are really proud of the program we've built and the positive effects it has had on safety and reliability for the community," said Tyler Nice, EWEB Electric Division manager.

Just as we manage vegetation to keep trees away from power lines, it's important for you to create a line of defense around your property by clearing dead trees and brush away from your property, particularly if you live in the South Hills and other heavily forested areas of our community.

When selecting a new tree to plant, follow the "Right Tree, Right Place" approach. By picking the proper species and planting procedure, you can increase public safety, reduce power outages, reduce the need for routine pruning, and promote healthy, beautiful trees.