Distribution Line Fires

Burning utility poles may cause downed power lines. Follow these precautions:

  • Never attempt to apply any extinguishing agent to energized equipment. Whether that agent is a dry chemical, carbon dioxide or water in a 30-degree fog spray at 100 psi, it can cause an arc flash. Equipment must be de-energized before you can safely attempt to put out the fire.
  • Only attempt to protect exposures that are not in contact with the energized equipment.
  • Do not use water around a utility pole unless the incident commander directs you to do so.
  • If transformers are burning, be alert for explosions, smoke hazards and oil releases. Even when the fire is put out, there may still be oil present and power lines may still be energized.
  • Create a safety perimeter, and keep bystanders at least 100 feet away. Maintain this perimeter until utility personnel confirms that the lines are de-energized and oil cleanup is complete.