How do powerlines start wildfires?

I stumbled across this great article about the different ways that powerlines can start wildfires.  Thanks to the Texas Wildfire Mitigation Project for such a clean, concise summary on the topic.

Basically, power line fire ignitions fall into roughly 5 categories:

  1. Downed power lines
  2. Direct vegetation contact
  3. Conductor slap (conductor contact)
  4. Repetitive faults (by vegetation contact, conductor slap or equipment failure).
  5. Equipment (apparatus) failure.

The real question is how many of these ignitions are truly preventable. Some ignitions may occur from random chance (bad luck), while others, like repetitive faults, should be consider avoidable through appropriate monitoring and detection.  It is clear that managing and preventing power line ignition is critical to community safety, therefore we must explore every avenue we have to limit their ability start a destructive wildfire.

Click here to read the full story from the TWMP:  How do power lines start wildfires?

Pro-active power management during high wildfire risk draws complaints from consumers

Arching or downed power lines start wildfires each year.  This year, possibly for the first time ever, a California power company chose to shut down power transmission lines that were subjected to periods of high winds. This kind of active management of ignition sources is rare and not without consequences. Many consumers have filed complaints against California’s Power, Gas and Electric (PG&E), however, there were no new wildfires from these lines, so maybe it’s worth the cost?

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2018/11/02/506554.htm

The 2018 wildfires in Greece

This year was Greece’s worst fire event since 2007 and at least 80 people died in the blazes primarily in the Attica region around Athens.

Here is an arial video of the aftermath of the fires (from the BBC):

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-44947962/greece-wildfires-aerial-view-of-destruction

Here is a stunning collection of before and after satellite images and ground-based photos of the area (from The Guardian). This fire started on July 23rd, 2018 with winds of more than 70 miles per hour.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2018/jul/25/how-the-fires-in-mati-greece-spread-a-visual-guide

This article has a solid map showing the fire locations and dates. Mati, Rafina in the East and Kineta in the West:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/25/greece-wildfires-death-toll-rises-rescue-efforts-intensify

In the coming days, we’ll be exploring the weather and fire danger conditions that lead up to this event to better determine whether or not we could have anticipated this event.