California PUC adopts map showing power line fire danger

Wildfire Outlook Preparations

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California regulators who oversee the state's electricity on Thursday adopted a map that shows where power lines pose the greatest wildfire danger.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the use of what it calls Fire Map 1, which shows parts of the state that are especially in danger for ignition and spread of power-line fires due to strong winds, dry vegetation and other environmental conditions around the lines.

The CPUC says the map is meant to help prevent power-line blazes like the catastrophic and deadly 2007 wildfires that burned 334 square miles across Southern California in 2007 and a wildfire in Northern California's Amador and Calaveras counties in 2015 that torched 115 square miles.

The new color-coded map shows most of the state in low-danger green and gray, with high danger orange-and-red areas in the far northwest and southwest parts of the state, and in the Sierra Nevada.

"The state must have accurate maps of high fire hazard areas in order to plan and deploy resources," said Commissioner Mike Florio.

The commission will immediately begin work on a second map called Fire Map 2, showing where stiffer fire restrictions will apply.

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