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Avista enters 'Fire Safety Mode'

| July 6, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — In response to dry summer conditions and increasing wildfire danger in the region, Avista is undertaking temporary changes to power line operations in its Washington and Idaho service area. Avista has implemented this operational change, now called Fire Safety Mode, for over 20 years.

These temporary changes are being made to decrease the potential for wildfires that could occur when re-energizing a power line. During normal operations, the lines are set to try several times to clear a fault, reducing outage times. In Fire Safety Mode, to reduce the risk of fire, the line stays out until Avista crews determine it’s safe. Only then will they turn it back on. This can require more time to restore service but decreases the potential fire danger.

Recently, Avista has enhanced Fire Safety Mode by pairing it with a fire-weather monitoring system. This allows system operators and field managers to make more informed decisions to reduce fire risk. They can change the sensitivity further on a circuit if high winds or other conditions are predicted.

This practice is part of Avista’s Wildfire Resiliency Plan. Building on prevention and response strategies that have been in place many years, Avista committed to a comprehensive 10-year Wildfire Resiliency Plan in 2020. More information on the plan can be found at myavista.com/wildfire.

Avista will return the distribution system to normal as soon as weather permits and fire potential decreases. Avista appreciates the patience and understanding of its customers during this time.