MEDFORD, Ore. — Officials from Pacific Power have been meeting with local administrators in the Rogue Valley for the past several weeks, working on contingency plans in the event that wildfire risk jumps to critical levels. In early June, the company announced that it would shut off power to some areas when such risk is high.
On Thursday, NewsWatch 12 received maps from Pacific Power that outline the areas that could see these emergency shutoffs.
The maps identify areas that are "high consequence areas" for wildfires, and areas that could see public safety power shutoffs. While these areas often overlap, they do not always.
The areas identified as having potential shutoffs include most populated areas of Josephine County outside of downtown Grants Pass, northern Jackson County around Shady Cove, and southern Jackson County below Ashland.
Pacific Power said that the communities in blue — which could see shutoffs — will be invited to public meetings about the plan on July 9 and 11. NewsWatch 12 will have more information on these meetings as it becomes available.
While emergency power shutoffs are not unknown in California, the measure is a first for Pacific Power in Oregon. In May, fire investigators concluded that the deadly Camp Fire in Butte County, California was started by PG&E power equipment, which has prompted power utilities to be more cautious in areas of high wildfire risk under "Red Flag" conditions.
The full document with detailed maps of each area may be viewed below.