San Francisco city officials thanked PG&E this week for its assistance during the massive Rim Fire in and near Yosemite National Park.
Barry Anderson, PG&E’s interim vice president of emergency preparedness & response, was invited to join San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and other officials on Tuesday (Sept. 3) in this small unincorporated town in Tuolumne County.
Moccasin is the home to employees who work on the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir system, which provides drinking water to 2.6 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s also the site of one of San Francisco’s three city-owned hydroelectric power plants.
Lee talked about how PG&E’s mutual aid was helpful in coordinating the city’s emergency response efforts.
Besides its electric crews and logistic personnel, PG&E provided three of its Mobile Command Vehicles to assist the fire-fighting efforts, including printed hard copy maps of PG&E’s electric facilities. Leadership from the San Francisco Fire Department, Department of Emergency Management and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission also utilized the PG&E Command Center to help coordinate emergency response.
“Their efforts helped the SFPUC get power back up quickly,” Lee said.
The blaze began Aug. 17 and is now the fourth-largest wildfire in California history with some 240,000 acres burned. More than 4,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, including from as far away as Maine.
“All these efforts helped get this monster tamed,” said Mike Dueitt, Cal Fire incident commander.
In areas where the fire has passed through, PG&E crews are inspecting company equipment and vegetation management crews are removing charred trees and limbs that could interfere or come in contact with electric lines and other parts of PG&E’s system.
Hydropower electricity generated in the Hetch Hetchy watershed powers the city’s facilities.
San Francisco made up the difference in power generation by accessing power from an existing power bank, of which PG&E is a member. Any shortfalls of power were made up by purchasing power on the open market.