How you can help
Even though BPA regularly inspects its transmission lines, you can help by notifying BPA if you see trees or vegetation that might be growing too close to the lines.
For your own safety, it’s important that you never attempt to trim or remove a tree that’s near a trans- mission line, because working around energized power lines is very hazardous. Instead, call BPA and its specially trained crews will take care of it.
Questions or Concerns? Please call: 800-836-6619
Trees and power lines have never been good neighbors. That’s why BPA works hard to keep a safe distance between high-growing vegetation and nearby power lines through a comprehensive vegetation management program.
Vegetation growing near high-voltage lines is hazardous in two respects. First, if trees or tall brush touch a transmission line, they can shut down that line and disrupt the flow of electricity. For example, during storms or high winds, tree limbs can fall on transmission lines, knocking out power to communities. Because a single line in BPA’s system serves thousands of homes and businesses, an incident like this could trigger outages that affect the entire West Coast.
And second, electricity can “arc” or “flashover” from wires, through the air, to trees, other vegetation or equipment up to 15 feet away, where it can cause fires, injuries or even fatalities to anyone nearby. Another danger is that electricity from the line can make a tree branch so hot it catches fire, which can threaten homes in residential neighborhoods and spark wildfires in rural areas.
BPA crews will maintain a 25-foot safety zone between the highest point the vegetation will potentially grow and the lowest point the power line will sag under extreme conditions. Sometimes, even though a tree is outside the right-of-way boundary, BPA crews will remove any growth that comes within the 25-foot clearance zone or remove the tree if it’s unstable and likely to topple over on the power line.