More than six years after a massive wildfire in Malibu caused more than $500 million in damage, the California Public Utilities Commission today approved dozens of new rules aimed at strengthening overhead power and communications poles.
In the wake of the 2007 Malibu blaze and major wildfires in San Diego County the same year, the state ordered utilities companies to devise a stronger set of regulations for overhead poles and power lines, which were found to have ignited the blazes.
The new rules -- regulating use of stronger materials and the installation of additional poles -- were approved by the PUC in a 4-0 vote, with one abstention.
A study found that a high percentage of existing poles violate state standards.
The Malibu fire started Oct. 21, 2007, amid strong Santa Ana winds. The 3,836-acre wildfire roared down Malibu Canyon into Malibu's Civic Center area, injuring three firefighters and burning 10 homes, classrooms at two schools, a landmark Malibu castle and several businesses.
--City News Service