Saturday, September 24, 2022

Play

The health-care subsidy extension a relief for small businesses; Consumer groups press for a bill to reform credit reporting; and an international group aims to transform how people view peace and conflict.

Play

Condemnation of Russian war on Ukraine continues at the U.N, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there's need for worker training to rebuild Puerto Rico, the House takes on record corporate profits while consumers struggle with inflation.

Play

The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

Could Burying Power Save More Homes, Lives from Wildfires?

Play

Monday, July 25, 2022   

Western states under extreme drought made worse by climate change are a giant tinderbox - and one expert says it's time to minimize possible fire sources by burying power lines.

Above-ground transmission lines have been mostly an eyesore, but as climate change has worsened the risk and devastation from wildfires, Engineering Consultant with Resilient Analytics Paul Chinowsky said power lines should never be the possible source.

He said vegetation or heavy winds can cause lines to touch each other and create a spark.

"You've got equipment that really wasn't designed to handle the extreme temperatures and environmental conditions we have today," said Chinowsky.

Chinosky said the major hurdle is cost - estimated at $4 million or more for each mile of "undergrounding."

California's Pacific Gas & Electric utility recently agreed to pay more than $55 million dollars to avoid criminal prosecution for that state's 2021 Dixie wildfire sparked by aging power lines.

PG&E also has announced a multibillion-dollar effort to bury 10,000 miles of power lines.

Chinowsky said he believes the adversarial relationship that sometimes develops between local governments and their utility company needs to change. He said more cooperation is necessary to ease what would likely be higher rates for customers.

"Because this change is going to save homes," said Chinowsky. "It's going to save property. If we don't change it, we're never going to get it done and we're just going to keep reliving these very destructive wildfires."

Wildfires are now more frequent and intense and fire seasons last longer. That has led some building homes or structures near or within Western forests to use fire-resistant materials.

But Chinosky said the "new normal" is here to stay, and reducing risk is key.

"We'll always have some risk," said Chinowsky. "You can't eliminate all risk. You're not going to eliminate lightning strikes. But if we can eliminate risks that we have control over, it's going to save a lot of people a lot of unhappy times."

New Mexico's recent fire - the largest in the state's history - was not caused by above-ground power lines, but rather ignited by U.S. Forest Service workers using drip torches during a prescribed burn to thin dense woodlands.




get more stories like this via email
Nonprofit organizations employed nearly 30,000 Montanans in 2019. (Artur/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The work of some nonprofit organizations has only increased with the pandemic and the needs that have come from it. An author and expert in the field …


Social Issues

By Lourdes Medrano for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Arizona News Connection, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Social Issues

Hispanic Heritage Month began in mid-September and runs through Oct. 15, and a financial institution in Washington state is finding unique ways to …


Fans of solitude say the route density in Labyrinth Canyon can make it difficult to escape the noise of motorized vehicles. (Bureau of Land Management)

Environment

Conservation groups say more needs to be done to protect the natural and cultural resources of Utah's Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicles…

Social Issues

Despite being aimed at children in kindergarten through third grade, Florida teachers say what's often referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law has …

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., says she plans to call a legislative hearing on the practices of credit reporting agencies. (Kalafoto/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Consumer groups are pressing for legislation to reform the way credit agencies handle errors on credit reports. The calls to amend the Fair Credit …

Social Issues

As "Banned Books Week" comes to a close, Connecticut libraries have been celebrating with great fervor - despite numerous book bans and challenges…

Social Issues

Average Affordable Care Act premiums in Wisconsin would have been 56% higher this year without temporary subsidies from the federal government…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021