It goes without saying, but anything capable of burning is subject to becoming fuel for a fire. While that might not mean much for backyard fire pit enthusiasts who are happy to throw on another oak log as the temperature dips on a cool winter night, it can be devastating in large areas thick with overgrown vegetation. We can’t say for certain how many of the nearly 60,000 wildfires that occurred in 2021 happened or worsened due to overgrown vegetation, but it’s safe to say it’s a problem. However, wildfires aren’t the only unplanned occurrence affected by overgrown vegetation.
High winds, tornadoes, hurricanes and other perilous weather patterns can cause trees and branches to fall. This impacts millions of people. In fact, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) refers to tree contact with transmission lines as “a leading cause of electric power outages and a common cause of past regional blackouts.” FERC goes on to say that a similar event was the genesis of the August 2003 blackout. This event resulted in some 50 million people in the U.S. and Canada losing power.
To help minimize the potential of fire, adverse weather and overgrown vegetation causing a power outage, many utilities have become more proactive in their efforts with advanced analytics.