Wildfire prevention: Oregon power companies prepare to cut electricity

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 5:36 PM PDT
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WELCHES Ore. (KPTV) - With winds picking up this week there could be cause for concern in mountain communities.

Places that lost power just two years ago due to wildfire dangers are bracing for the possibility once more.

Store owners in the area say they’ve been lucky so far, but the area is dry and fire is overdue, adding that officials however know that and have been trying to help prevent it.

“Last year they worked on it. As far as trimming the trees up around wires. They’ve done a lot actually,” says Ken Gambell of Brightwood Tavern. Gambell added he doesn’t think a shut-off will happen.

Other business owners like Travis Brewster who owns Brewster Coffee says there is that possibility and he hopes it doesn’t happen.

“It costs a lot of money to get a generator that can run a business and you have to put it on top of a commercial building. There’s a bunch of stuff to do that as well and it’s just something that small mom-and-pop shops can’t afford to do,” says Brewster.

As of Tuesday, Sept. 6 no official shutdown has been announced.

But both Pacific Power and PGE say it is possible, saying they’re monitoring the situation and if it’s needed, will spread the word soon.

Brewster says he understands the need to shut off power, but also thinks officials should figure out a way to help small businesses.

“We do understand to some point they’re trying to be safe, but at the same time someone needs to step up.”

Brewster says if a shut-off happened, the majority of his stock would go bad, leaving his business at a loss and no income for the time.

“If they’re going to shut the power off, they’re going to have to cover. Or the insurance company, or some type of relief from the governor,” says Brewster.

This story is developing and as more information from the national weather service and electric officials, this article will be updated.