As climate conditions have changed throughout the west, the traditional idea of a fire “season” has evolved into a year-long battle against larger, stronger and faster wildfires. As part of our commitment to regional safety, Xcel Energy has developed a comprehensive program designed to help protect lives, homes, and property from the threat of wildfire. In doing so, we are helping to create a sustainable future for Coloradans who rely on us to power their lives every day.
Safety is our priority
While safety has always been our core value, Xcel Energy first launched the Wildfire Protection Program in 2019 to identify, evaluate, and proactively minimize the risk of wildfire caused by our infrastructure. The program includes work in the following 17 Colorado counties: Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Summit, Garfield, Mesa, Eagle, Park, Rio Grande, Lake, Chaffee, Alamosa, Costilla, Conejos, and Saguache.
We recognize that wildfires pose a significant threat to our customers, communities and our state as a whole – and we are proactively taking steps to minimize ignition risks associated with operating our system. Our cross-functional Wildfire Mitigation team works together to:
- Accelerate inspections in identified Wildfire Risk Zones—and conduct new and enhanced inspections on equipment—to further identify potential safety concerns.
- Replace equipment and poles that pose an increased risk and explore the use of new technologies to further reduce risk.
- Analyze the strength and ability of transmission and distribution structures to withstand higher than normal wind speeds.
- Conduct enhanced vegetation management in the areas around structures and equipment.
- Improve protocols and fire-safe work practices to minimize wildfire risk.
- Work directly with communities, first responders
andother stakeholders to inform, educate andgather feedback for our program.
How we’re strengthening our system
We’re making strategic investments and improvements to bolster the power grid, build resilience and increase situational awareness to enhance the region’s ability to respond to wildfires. The team oversees three main bodies of work: Community and stakeholder outreach plans, operational and situational awareness efforts, and system hardening initiatives.