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MCFSC is collaborating with PG&E to help residents better understand and successfully interact with PG&E’s vegetation management programs. The intent of this guide is to provide one location with answers (see below) to common questions about PG&E’s programs – it does not replace PG&E’s information or guidelines. 

Know the program: Most concerns regarding PG&E work relate to its Enhanced Vegetation Management Program (EVM), which is different from PG&E’s routine vegetation management. According to PG&E’s website, the goals of the EVM program are “to keep trees, limbs and branches away from power lines and electric equipment.” For in-depth information about EVM and to get a better idea of what to expect when PG&E comes to your property, visit PG&E’s Enhanced Vegetation Management page

You may see different crews near or on your property multiple times this year who could be working the EVM program or doing routine maintenance. Politely ask what program they are working under to get a better understanding of what to expect. To contact PG&E about issues related to their other vegetation management programs (called mid-cycle patrols or annual inspections) call 1-800-743-5000

PG&E has provided MCFSC with the following maps and schedule of their 2022 EVM program in Mendocino County.  If you see your property on these maps, you can contact PG&E in advance to ensure they have your updated contact information for notifications. Call 1-877-295-4949 or email wildfiresafety@pge.com include your name, address and phone number. 

Common Enhanced Vegetation Management Issues and How to Resolve Them

You have not been notified of work being done on your property.

PG&E is attempting to notify all property owners with phone calls, postcards and door hangers before its EVM program arrives on their property. However, sometimes PG&E is unable to reach you. If you are not being contacted directly, you need to reach out to PG&E. Call 1-877-295-4949 or email wildfiresafety@pge.com and include your name, property address and phone number. Use a descriptive subject line like: Property Owner Needs Contact Before Work Begins.

You are not able to communicate with PG&E contractors in a satisfactory way.

PG&E has hired many contracting companies for their EVM program. Some property owners are not happy with how these contractors communicate. Again, you need to reach out to PG&E.  Call 1-877-295-4949 or email wildfiresafety@pge.com and include your name, property address and phone number. Use a descriptive subject line like: Issue with Inspector.

Crews have left small branches or other small wood debris on your property.

Crews are expected to clean up small debris within 1-2 weeks. If this does not occur, contact PG&E at  1-877-295-4949. It’s possible the work being done was under an annual or mid-cycle vegetation management program, if so, 1-800-743-500 is a better number to use. You can also email wildfiresafety@pge.com and include your name, property address and phone number. Use a descriptive subject line like: (Your Neighborhood Name) Debris Clean-Up. Please copy your email to the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council at emily@firesafemendocino.org.

Large wood debris left on site

PG&E’s EVM policy is to leave wood greater than 4 inches in diameter onsite because PG&E considers it an asset of the property owner. Click here to see state regulations related to wood forest products. You may give the wood away as free firewood to your neighbors or request PG&E collect the wood. This is done through a Wood Management Form. This form should be given to you by an inspector, however if you do not receive a Wood Management Form, again, you need to reach out to PG&E. This form is not available online. Call 1-877-295-4949 or email wildfiresafety@pge.com and include your name, property address and phone number. Use the subject line: Requesting Wood Management Form. Once you fill out the form, email it back to wildfiresaftey@pge.com. Please note PG&E does not have to approve your request; they may determine that under their program requirements, the wood is inaccessible or not eligible for removal.  If your wood management form is approved it can still take several weeks for removal since PG&E is prioritizing removal of smaller, more flammable debris. 

When you DO NOT want PG&E to remove a tree.

First consider a few things: PG&E’s risk model is broad and it identifies trees that ‘may’ cause an issue with a powerline in the future. That can mean a tree is unhealthy, will likely die, or could grow within 4 feet of the line. At the time of tree work, they typically prune 12 feet around the lines to ensure they are within the 4 feet requirement in the future. If you still do not want PG&E to remove the tree, you should notify your inspector and follow up by contacting PG&E directly call 1-877-295-4949 or email wildfiresafety@pge.com and include your name, property address and phone number. Specify the tree with a photo and outline why you are refusing removal. Use the subject line: Refuse Removal. 

Please note that if PG&E deems the tree a serious hazard, they may still remove it even after you refuse. Also, keep in mind that there are potential liability concerns: PG&E is liable for wildfires caused by their equipment, but if a wildfire is caused by a tree that was in PG&E’s scope of work, and you as the property owner refused its removal, you could potentially share the liabilityPG&E is in the process of creating an official public document further explaining their refusal process, and we will post it here and share it with our Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils when available. 

When you DO want PG&E to remove a tree.

Reach out to PG&E by calling 1-877-295-4949 or email wildfiresafety@pge.com and include your name, phone number, address or location of the hazard, a photo if possible and any further information. Use the subject line: Reporting a Wildfire Hazard. To alert MFSC, please copy your email to emily@firesafemendocino.org. PG&E has developed an app for residents in high fire threat districts to report safety concerns directly to PG&E. Currently the app is “by invitation only.” Here is a link to get on the waitlist. We will update this page when it is available for download. In the meantime, reach out to PG&E as described above.

You may request an arborist to walk the property with you

To schedule that, talk to your inspector and/or call 1-877-295-4949 or email wildfiresafety@pge.com and include your name, property address and phone number. Use a descriptive subject line like: Schedule Arborist Before Any Work Done. This will be an arborist under contract with PG&E. You may ask for their credentials. You may also hire your own arborist to better inform your decisions. 

For more information on improvements that could be made to PG&E’s vegetation management program, check out this White Paper published by the Sierra Club and co-authored by one of our NFSC leaders. PG&E is preparing a response to this document. We will post it here when it is available.