Wildfire preparation and prevention is our year-round priority
Updated as of Wednesday, May 11, 2022 8:44 AM
Most Arizonans can remember a time when there was a defined wildfire season, which usually peaked during the summer. Given the intensity, frequency and duration of wildfires in the past few years, regional agencies and industry experts now agree that wildfire season can no longer be contained to just a few months per year but must be a priority year-round. That’s why, at Arizona Public Service (APS), our employees work to prepare and prevent wildfires through a series of efforts that span every season.
In fact, as I write this, Arizona has already seen multiple fires that have resulted in lost homes and structures and widespread evacuations for residents.
Arizona’s hot, windy and dry weather puts our state at risk for fires from the forest areas of northern Arizona to the deserts of southern Arizona, including wildland urban interface areas in the Valley of the Sun where wildfire risk is rising. Wildfires present one of the biggest risks facing our communities and APS infrastructure, which in many cases, runs through high fire risk areas. APS prevents, mitigates, and responds to wildfires year-round, but especially in the spring and during elevated fire conditions that are a fact of life in the summer.
APS employees in Cottonwood, Camp Verde and the surrounding areas have begun to spend much of their time speaking with community members and customers, sharing information about how we prepare, prevent and respond to wildfires in order to provide safe and reliable power. Our goal is to make sure everyone understands APS’s commitment to the safety of the communities we serve and how our efforts might impact our customers.
Some of the ways we are protecting our communities and electrical systems are:
Clearing vegetation, creating defensible space around critical electrical infrastructure, and helping people learn how to create defensible space around their property.
Collaborating with our partners to keep the public informed about our efforts to prevent wildfires and to promptly restore power after an outage.
Keeping customers informed during any power outage that may be necessary to reduce wildfire risk or keep first responders safe.
Keeping the lights on is always at the forefront of what we do, but customer and worker safety come first. As part of the effort to prevent wildfires, APS may have to interrupt service or follow protocols that could prolong outages for high-risk areas as the company works to protect the public, the environment and critical electrical infrastructure. Any disruption of power is a major inconvenience to the public, but the company’s protocols put the safety of first responders, communities and APS crews above all else.
We have provided reliable electric service to Arizona for more than 130 years and care about the safety of the customers and communities we serve. Together, we can be prepared. To learn more, visit aps.com/wildfiresafety.
Mackenzie Rodgers is the director of T&D, NW Division, APS.