Best Practices for Utility Wildfire Mitigation Planning

Best Practices for Utility Wildfire Mitigation Planning

December 7-8, 2022 | Online :: Pacific Time

“Randy’s passion was evident. He is a dynamic and engaging speaker. I enjoyed his style and the specific examples and stories he shared from his direct experience. He bridges the divide between fire and utility beautifully! – Lands Manager, Western Area Power Authority

The threat of wildfires causing significant social, economic, and environmental damage is increasing as wildfire seasons are growing longer and average wildfire sizes are increasing.  The risk is driven by a combination of climate change, fire management and suppression, wildland-urban interface population, utility infrastructure, and extreme weather events. Legislation in California has established, among other things, requirements for utilities to submit Wildfire Mitigation Plans (WMPs) to improve utility wildfire safety by focusing on their initiatives aimed at mitigating ignition risk from their own infrastructure.

Developing effective WMPs requires effective collaboration that engages stakeholders in decision-making, as well as taking into account differences in wildfire threat in various communities, focusing on long-term resilience, and using data effectively to understand and plan for risk. EUCI’s Best Practices for Utility Wildfire Mitigation Planning course will address priorities in developing WMPs as well as the processes, tools, and capabilities necessary to support utility mitigation efforts in the long term, to better serve the needs of local communities.

Register now for this virtual opportunity that puts a spotlight on the steps required to build a fire safe culture that prioritizes long-term, systematic risk reduction for utilities and the communities that they serve.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize the common components of WMPs
  • Review best practices on how to prepare wildfire mitigation plans
  • Discuss how to tailor WMPs to address specific services areas and risks
  • Discuss the importance of communication between stakeholders in developing WMPs
  • Assess trends in vegetation mitigation strategies
  • Examine regulatory considerations by state
  • Review wildfire mitigation methodologies
  • Examine the variety engineering strategies in mitigation efforts
  • Assess the value of data in developing mitigation strategies
  • Identify key concerns in power safety shutoff policies
  • Develop an understanding of the importance of situational awareness in creating a WMP

    Agenda

    Wednesday, December 7, 2022 : Pacific Time

    8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
    Log In and Welcome

    12:00 – 12:45 p.m.
    Lunch Break

    9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Course Timing

     

    9:00 – 9:30 a.m. :: Introduction

    • Overview and Objectives

    9:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Sample Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans

    The session will cover notable sample sections and content from various WMPs from California and other states. There are various approaches to WMP creation: internal, consultant, template. Session will discuss merits of each. Suggested content:

    • Sample notable sections
    • Approaches to WMP creation:
      • Written internally
      • Written by consultant
      • Use of WMP templates
    • “Must have” section discussion

    10:45 – 11:00 a.m. :: Morning Break

    11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Risk/Hazard Assessment

    As part of the wildfire mitigation planning process, utilities stakeholders need to assess wildland fire risk throughout a service area to develop unique, effective prevention strategies and protocols, and have begun to adopt data-driven decision-making practices, including establishing collaborations to increase data capabilities. While analytical tools hold promise for improving mitigation efforts, there are also underlying weaknesses in data-reliant assessments that need to be addressed to fully realize that promise.

    • Methodologies
    • Modeling
    • Data assessment
      • Data Sources
      • Data Considerations
    • Caution/Pitfalls

    12:00 – 12:45 p.m. :: Lunch Break

    12:45 – 1:45 p.m. :: Situational Awareness

    Situational awareness (SA) can vary depending on stakeholder perspective. SA involves perceiving environmental events, understanding their meaning, and projecting future trends and potential impacts. Situational awareness, which can vary depending on stakeholder perspective, comes into play during all stages of the wildfire event lifecycle: preparedness, detection, initial response, suppression, mop-up, and reclamation. This session will examine the role of SA in wildfire response planning.

    • California’s Investor-Owned Utilities’ Strategies
    • Fire Potential Index (FPI)
      • Public Information
    • Red Flag
    • Large Fire Potential
    • Defensibility
    • Agency Use

    1:45 – 2:00 p.m. :: Early Afternoon Break

    2:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Mitigations

    Wildfire prevention practices and engineering programs reduce or eliminate fire hazards and risks, changing the environment by removing or reducing heat sources, modifying fuels to create a defensible space, and reducing the likelihood of a heat source coming in contact with ignitable fuels. This session will examine how these mitigation strategies can be incorporated into WMPs.

    • Best Field Practices
    • Response to Escalating Fire Weather Conditions
      • Best System Operations
      • Engineering Solutions
    • Planning
    • Design
    • Sectionalizing

    3:30 – 3:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

    3:45 – 5:00 p.m. :: Vegetation Management & Monitoring WMP Performance

    Sustainable utility vegetation management (UVM) programs are typically focused on programmatically managing risk related to public and employee safety, electric service reliability, regulatory compliance and cost while looking ahead to assess other risks such as wildfire ignition and asset protection. This session will examine vegetation management best practices and current wildfire trends across North America including metrics and data that can be used to inform the effectiveness of a utility’s WMP and its fire prevention strategies.

    • Wildfire and UVM trends
    • UVM best management practices
    • Monitoring wildfire mitigation performance
      • Options for metrics and data (outages, ignitions, etc.)
      • How can data be reported, collected, analyzed, used
      • Continuous improvement

    Ryan A. Brockbank, Principal, Utility ROW Services, EDM International

    Thursday, December 8, 2022 : Pacific Time

    8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
    Log In

    9:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
    Course Timing

     

    9:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Utilization of Remotely Sensed Data for Wildfire Mitigation

    Utilities have an ever-growing list of advanced and partially automated technologies and solutions to effectively manage both “traditional” risks as well as emerging and increasing threats, such as wildfire.  Best-in-class programs have met these challenges by being adaptive, innovative, and creative in combining various tools to solve specific problems as well as holistic wildfire challenges faced by asset management, vegetation management, operations, and other utility departments, as well as external stakeholders.

    1. Use of remotely sensed data (LiDAR, satellite, infrared, etc.)
    2. Working across utility departmental “silos”

    James S. Downie, Principal, Utility Services, EDM International

    10:15 – 10:30 a.m. :: Morning Break

    10:30 – 11:45 a.m. :: Fire Response/Ignition Management

    As pressure increases on utilities to perform infrastructure hardening such as burying and insulating lines and using non-wood poles and reconfigured insulators, questions arise about cost and effectiveness of various proposed approaches. This session offers a look at how a utility can benefit from collecting and analyzing ignition data related to fires and near misses from its electric facilities to better focus its infrastructure initiatives.

    11:45 – 12:00 p.m. :: Morning Break

    12:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Public Safety Power Shutoff

    Investor-owned utilities have the authority to shut off the electric power to protect public safety. Utilities do this during severe wildfire threat condition as a preventative measure of last resort through public safety power shutoffs. What factors need to be taken into consideration when adding PSPS procedures to a utility wildfire mitigation plan?

    • Timeline
    • Considerations
    • Precautions
    • Communication Before, During, and After

    1:15 p.m. :: Program Adjourns

    Instructors

    Randy Lyle, Wildfire Mitigation Strategies

    Mr. Lyle has over 45 years of fire and fire related experience. His career has spanned the decades where GIS and advances in technology allowed the science of pre-fire engineering to rapidly evolve. Randy worked for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and was among the first to employ those tools in the emergency and non-emergency environments. He retired in 2007 as a CalFIRE Division Chief in San Diego where his firefighting career began in 1975. During this time period, he also served in aerial firefighting, engine company, and hand crew assignments. The operational apex of his firefighting career was his assignment as Unified Incident Commander on the historic 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego, CA.

    Randy transitioned from his wildfire fighting career to San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) as a Contract Administrator in the Vegetation Management Department. Three weeks after he was hired, he was called on to be part of the investigation and subsequent litigation support team for the catastrophic Witch, Rice and Guejito Fires of 2007. These fires prompted several California Public Utility Commission actions including direction to utilities to produce a map identifying high risk areas. Mr. Lyle was instrumental in helping guide this statewide High Fire Threat District (HFTD) mapping effort which resulted in a 2018 CPUC Decision adopting regulations to enhance fire safety in the HFTD and highlighted his leadership abilities.

    Randy had been involved with the SDG&E fire program soon after its inception and served as the Fire Science and Coordination Manager before leaving SDG&E.  His team of five Fire Coordinators flew UAS, trained internally on fire safety and externally on electric safety for first responders, provided guidance on fuel treatment projects and prepared project specific fire prevention plans.

    Since establishing his own consulting firm, Wildfire Mitigation Strategies, Randy has worked on various projects for electric utilities across the western US. He has authored/co-authored Wildfire Mitigation Plans and Public Safety Power Shutoff Plans in Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Wildfire Mitigation Strategies provides a daily situational awareness tool useful in guiding electric utilities during escalating fire weather. Mr. Lyle believes that ignition management is key to reducing utility wildfire risk and has developed a customizable Ignition Management Plan framework for utility use.


    James S. Downie, Principal, Utility Services, EDM International

    James Downie has over 35 years of experience in the utility industry and currently serves as the Principal of Utility Services at EDM International. Prior to this he served as President of Environmental Consultants/ECI as well as director of a large Midwest utility where he was responsible for electric and gas vegetation management and asset inspections. Mr. Downie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, Utility Specialist, and is TRAQ qualified. James served as President of the Utility Arborist Association from 1996 to 1997.


    Ryan A. Brockbank, Principal, Utility ROW Services, EDM International

    Ryan Brockbank is Principal of Utility ROW Services at EDM International. He has over 30 years of experience in the areas of utility vegetation management, wildfire risk mitigation, and environmental consulting services and has led operations as President and COO for one of the largest firms providing utility vegetation management consulting and field services in the U.S.. Ryan acts in an advisory capacity to the State of California’s Wildfire Safety Advisory Board and has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, a Master’s in Environmental Management, and is an ISA Certified Arborist.

    Online Delivery

    We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

    • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
    • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
    • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
      • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
    • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
    • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.

    Register

    Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

    If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

    REGISTER NOW FOR THIS EVENT:

    Best Practices for Utility Wildfire Mitigation Planning

    December 7-8, 2022 | Online
    Individual attendee(s) - $ 1195.00 each

    Volume pricing also available

    Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

    Pack of 5 attendees - $ 4,780.00 (20% discount)
    Pack of 10 attendees - $ 8,365.00 (30% discount)
    Pack of 20 attendees - $ 14,340.00 (40% discount)

    Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before November 03, 2022 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

    CEUs

    AP_Logo

    EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

    EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this course.

    Requirements For Successful Completion Of Program

    Participants must log on each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

    Instructional Methods

    Case studies, PowerPoint presentations, and Q&A will be used in this event.


    Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

    Course CPE Credits: 12.0
    There is no prerequisite for this Course.
    Program field of study: Specialized Knowledge
    Program Level: Basic
    Delivery Method: Group Internet Based
    Advanced Preparation: None

    CpeEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site: www.nasbaregistry.org

     

     

    Who Should Attend

    • Electric Utility Leaders
    • Utility Risk Management Professionals
    • Utility Grid Planning and Operations Specialists
    • Utility Transmission and Field Services Personnel
    • State and Federal Agencies
    • City Planning Agencies
    • Mitigation Specialists
    • Policy Makers
    • Researchers
    • Corporate Communication Specialists
    • Insurers
    • Consultants
    • Fire Prevention and Mitigation Technology Providers

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