In the aftermath of the Dixie Fire, technology is being used to transform vegetation management.

Wildfires are becoming more common all over the world, from Greece to Turkey to Australia and California.

These fires are caused by a variety of factors, including stray cigarettes, unattended campfires, lightning strikes, and downed power lines in places like California.

On July 13th, a tree fell on Pacific Gas & Electric power lines, sparking the largest fire in California history.

Due to mounting debt from lawsuits related to the 2015 and 2017 wildfires, as well as the 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise, PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid tens of billions in additional fire liability costs from future fires.

PG&E emerged from bankruptcy with promises to pay $25.5 billion to all major wildfire victims and organisations, as well as board of directors changes.

PG&E’s vegetation management strategy calls for year-round tree removals using traditional techniques for the time being. After the landowner or homeowner has been notified of an upcoming inspection, inspectors will manually mark trees that require pruning or removal. Trees that have been marked may need to be cared for for up to four to six weeks.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a bankruptcy reorganisation plan that strengthened PG&E’s governance and operations. For example, the Enhanced Vegetation Management (EVM) programme aims to reduce the risk of wildfire.

It also means that, in addition to continuing its vegetation management protocol, PG&E will consider the potential risks posed by trees that are dead or dying, have overhanging limbs, or are excessively tall. By the end of 2021, the company hopes to have completed 1,800 miles of EVM.

Circuit Protection Zones (CPZ)

CPZ were identified by the utility as the focal point for the top 20% of wildfire-prone areas. The top 1% to 3% of the 1,800 EVM miles receive the most attention. The remaining 80% is divided into three risk categories: 1 to 3.0%, 4.0 percent to 10.0 percent, and 11.0 percent to 20.00%. Only the top 1% to 3% of the population travel an estimated 2,422 miles per year.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Google Maps, and the PG&E map of its origin, Dixie Fire is only near CPZs with an 11 percent-20 percent risk. PG&E’s EVM programme in the Dixie Fire region this year is extremely unlikely.

Droughts in California have gotten worse and lasted longer. Bets cannot be placed on anything other than the most dangerous options. The speed and ease with which information can be accessed in this case must match the scope of the operation.

Spacept’s tools are being tested to see if they can detect the vegetation hazards that caused the Dixie Fire in the first place. The ability to detect encroachment could benefit both wildfire prevention and utility reliability.

On June 15th, we searched for clues using SPOT Satellite data, focusing on an area near the San Francisco Chronicle’s suggested launch site. Officials believe the fire began on Dixie Road near Feather River Canyon and has since spread to the surrounding area.


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