Avista Comments on its Investigation of Wildfires in its Region Following the Labor Day Windstorm
News Release | Avista Corp
In response to inquiries about the wildfires in its region, Avista has announced the initial findings from its investigations.
Avista’s investigation has determined that the primary cause of the fires in its region was extreme high winds, a weather event that triggered wildfires and affected electric utilities throughout the Pacific Northwest. To date, the Company has not found any evidence that the fires were caused by any deficiencies in its equipment, maintenance activities or vegetation management practices, although it has become aware of instances where, during the course of the storm, otherwise healthy trees and limbs, located in areas outside its maintenance right-of-way, broke under the extraordinary wind conditions and caused damage to its energy delivery system. Parallel investigations by the Department of Natural Resources are ongoing, and Avista is fully cooperating with their efforts.
Dennis Vermillion, Avista president and CEO, said, “We are deeply saddened by the devastation in numerous communities throughout our region in the wake of the unprecedented windstorm. From the outset of this storm, our focus has been, and will continue to be, to look for ways to help support affected communities as they begin to assess and repair the damage. We have been in communication with the Department of Natural Resources to support one another in fire suppression and other response efforts, and we have likewise been in contact with local fire departments, community leaders and other important stakeholders as we collectively work through the damage caused by the storm. In addition, although we do not have electric facilities in our Oregon service territory, we are working closely to support leaders and impacted communities there as well.
“As we move forward, our primary focus will continue to be on supporting our impacted communities, on ensuring that we are able to provide electric and natural gas service where it is needed, and on doing our part to help in the rebuilding process,” added Mr. Vermillion. “Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by these unprecedented fires in our region.”