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Fire safety includes utilities

October 22, 2008

Re "Fire rules don't cover power line," Oct. 17

Downed power lines are responsible for way too many fires, causing destruction of land and property and, ultimately, injury and death. With a little proactive maintenance, utilities and power-line operators can prevent most, if not all, risks posed by the power lines they operate.

The assertion by Southern California Gas Co. and California Public Utilities Commission spokesperson Tom Hall that they are exempt from any fire hazard abatement rules simply does not hold up under close scrutiny. The California Public Resources Code, sections 4292 and 4293, addresses clearing flammable materials under power lines and transmission corridors. There is no differentiation of private and public land. There is also no differentiation between an electric utility or any other company operating electric transmission lines.

Bernhard O. Voelkelt

Lake Arrowhead

The writer is director of operations for the Arrowhead Communities Fire Safe Council.

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