WASHINGTON, DC—Resources for the Future (RFF) released a new blog post from Fellow Matthew Wibbenmeyer in response to last week’s major power outages in California, titled "PG&E Power Outages Reduce Just a Portion of Wildfire Risk."
Wibbenmeyer, an expert on the management and economics of wildfires and forest resources, addresses the effectiveness of the PG&E outages in reducing wildfire risk. Wibbenmeyer explains that, although planned power outages remove a particularly hazardous source of ignitions, power lines ignite only five percent of California wildfires, and many other ignition sources remain.
Wibbenmeyer outlines the significant costs to residents and businesses, such as lost business revenue, food waste from offline refrigerators, and the critical health risk assumed by those who rely on electricity to power medical devices. While the planned power outages reduced risk faced by PG&E, and may have mitigated wildfire risk during last week’s wind event, Wibbenmeyer emphasizes that solutions to California’s wildfire problem need to go beyond just reducing ignitions from utilities.
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