During wildfire season, UniSource Energy Services gas crews work with customers and local agencies to prepare for and respond to wildfires.
So far this year, no major fires have threatened our gas facilities thanks to a strong rainy season. But we have a plan in place in case fires do occur.
UES Gas serves customers in five counties on terrain that faces different fire threats, from pine forests surrounding Flagstaff and Prescott to the hot desert climates of Lake Havasu City and Nogales.
With such a diverse service area, our employees coordinate with multiple agencies to prepare for and arrange responses to wild and forest fires. UES employees from different territories travel to assist in other communities when needed.
“Our crews are prepared to respond on a moment’s notice,” said Kevin Thomas, Safety Specialist for UES Gas.
In May, a fire broke out in Prescott Valley on a windy day. UES employees from Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Flagstaff and Cottonwood came in to help out. Authorities were able to contain the fire, and gas service was not interrupted.
Before fire season, UES educates customers through a bill insert and posts on Facebook and Twitter about wildfire safety planning in partnership with the Ponderosa Fire Advisory Council.
If an evacuation is required, the bill insert can be used as a door hanger to alert authorities that all occupants have evacuated. If gas service needs to be shut off, UES employees or firefighters will knock on your door to make sure no one is there, if the door hanger isn’t used.
UES can shut off gas delivery to an entire community if necessary, although such cases are rare. “We do our best to always provide service, unless the fire is imminent,” Thomas said.
To stay safe during fire season, follow these tips to protect your property:
- Remove dead limbs, leaves, litter and other vegetation around your home.
- Stack firewood and other flammable material at least 30 feet away from home.
- Properly dispose of ashes and BBQ briquettes.
- Make an evacuation plan, including an emergency supply kit and extra clothes.
Find more information on the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management website.