To help prepare customers and communities for the growing threat of wildfire, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) provides online tools with detailed, localized weather forecasts and a Fire Watch map, allowing customers to access dozens of high-definition cameras that monitor weather conditions in one view.
One click on www.pge.com/weather provides all that information and much more.
Customers can easily check PG&E’s weather map to see humidity, precipitation, temperatures, wind speeds and wind gusts across the 70,000 square miles of the company’s Northern and Central California service area, with the ability to zero in on the closest weather station.
On the site, customers now have a chance to view PG&E’s Satellite Fire Detection and Alerting System, successfully launched in 2019 to provide the company with advanced, around-the-clock warnings of potential new wildfire incidents. Adding this high-tech resource with the comprehensive weather map will help customers evaluate overall conditions more easily.
“Our in-house meteorologists and the team inside our Hazard Awareness & Warning Center (HAWC) utilize a wide variety of tools and technologies to maintain situational awareness and to efficiently act in advance of coming weather as well as react to emerging emergencies,” said Angie Gibson, PG&E’s vice president of emergency preparedness and response. “We’re sharing much of this with our customers to enable them to get a better sense of weather and other hazards.”
The PG&E meteorology team led development of the program in collaboration with experts in the satellite fire detection field from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center. The system, which was put into limited operations in February 2019 and became fully operational in June 2019, spotted thousands of fire ignitions last year.
If a fire is detected from two or more satellites, such as GOES-16 and 17, then confidence is high of an actual fire in the area. In many cases this system is expected to provide an early, if not the first, indication of an incident.
This fire detection tool is designed to help California communities plan and prepare for a potential fire response. The Satellite Fire Detection and Alerting System is part of the PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program (CWSP). In addition to improving real-time monitoring and intelligence capabilities, other actions PG&E is taking as part of CWSP include putting 10,000 miles of powerlines in high fire-risk areas underground and using Enhanced Powerline Safety Setting, which turn off power in one-tenth of a second once a fault is detected.
PG&E offers a wealth of online information related to wildfire safety and prevention, including:
- Safety Action Center. Easily digestible tips and videos for keeping yourself, your family, your neighborhood and even your pets safe.
- More about PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program information can be found at www.pge.com/wildfiresafety.