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Commission Approves New Rules to Keep Power Poles Fire-Safe

The changes come in the wake of the 2007 Malibu blaze which burned 3,836 acres.

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

leatherlady February 06, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Thank goodness something is being done. At least it's a beginning towards safe keeping our Malibu neighborhoods from these terrible disasters that ruin peoples lives, possibly never allowing them to return to normalcy. Kudos to all involved who's hard work helped make this a reality!
scott dittrich February 06, 2014 at 07:53 PM
This is a travesty. No more poles should be allowed. there were fines of nearly $100million from the 2007 fire. Let put all the wires underground and start today.
Hans Laetz February 07, 2014 at 12:01 PM
Scott, Jonathan, Marilyn: installing underground lines in just the Malibu area alone would approach $100 million. There are 14 million poles in California. Putting lines underground doesn't stop with the installation, either. They don't last long. The existing underground lines along Trancas Canyon Rd were just replaced after 50 years of service because they deteriorated. Fire area rules are next on the agenda. U
Hans Laetz February 07, 2014 at 12:04 PM
Undergrounding lines in windy, fire prone areas will be on the agenda.
Hans Laetz February 07, 2014 at 12:04 PM
Undergrounding lines in windy, fire prone areas will be on the agenda.

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