The Imperial Irrigation District will hold two public hearings next week, including one in the Coachella Valley, on a proposed plan to mitigate wildfire dangers related to electrical infrastructure, the agency announced Monday.
IID provides electricity service for the eastern half of the Coachella Valley, including the cities of La Quinta, Indio and Coachella. About 60% of the utility’s electrical customers reside in Riverside County.
Its service area also includes all of Imperial County and a small sliver of San Diego County.
Under Senate Bill 901, the district is required to obtain public comments on a plan that addresses wildfire risks related to electrical equipment to establish programs and procedures to mitigate risk, prepare for potential fires and develop oversight. The law was signed last September, after wildfires burned more than a million acres in California that year.
The draft plan, which is available online, indicates IID’s service area — mostly uninhabited desert and farmland — is at low risk for wildfires. There are no IID power infrastructure elements located in a Cal Fire-designated high fire threat or extreme fire threat area.
Since 2013, fires in IID’s service area have burned about 530 acres in Riverside County. For comparison, the recent Tenaja fire in Murrieta burned nearly 2,000 acres over a period of several days.
Even so, the agency identified meeting or exceeding power line and substation construction standards, relay protection, vegetation management and regular power line inspections as things it can focus on to prevent future wildfires.
The hearings are planned for Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Condit Auditorium at 1285 Broadway in El Centro, and Thursday, Sept. 19, in the IID Boardroom at 81600 Avenue 58 in La Quinta.
The draft plan can be accessed at www.iid.com/wildfireplan.
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