Murkowski Seeks Solutions to Mitigate Wildfire Impacts on Electric Grid

Hearing Examines Efforts to Reduce Risk and Increase Resiliency

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to examine the impacts of wildfires on the reliability of the nation’s electric grid. In recent years, wildfires have increasingly caused widespread power outages, most acutely in Western states like California.

During her opening remarks, Murkowski recounted last year’s Camp Fire, one of the deadliest and most destructive fires in California’s history.

“The Camp Fire was a sobering wakeup call on the inherent risk of maintaining thousands of miles of above-ground power lines across fire-prone landscapes,” Murkowski said. “This challenge is not limited to California, however. My home state of Alaska has seen more than 300 power line fires in the past eight years. The danger is in the fact that power lines are located near homes, schools, and businesses. Climate change, drought, insect infestation, and poor forest management have made forest landscapes more susceptible to fire, particularly in the West.”

The hearing featured discussion about utilities’ use of public safety power shutoffs, vegetation management, and advanced technology to mitigate wildfire risk and improve energy infrastructure resiliency in high fire-risk areas during extreme weather conditions.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. Click here, here, and here to view Murkowski’s questions for the witnesses.

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