Leveraging Existing Grid Architecture to Enhance Wildfire Mitigation

W. Alan Snook, II's picture
President GRID20/20, Inc.

Given 25 years of entrepreneurial business experience at many levels, my daily focus remains on building relationships, supporting customers and team members, and holding tightly to core business...

  • Member since 2021
  • 21 items added with 10,140 views
  • Mar 30, 2022

This item is part of the Investing in the Grid - March 2022 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

(GRID20/20, Inc. Licensed Adobe Stock photo)

Why is More Robust Wildfire Mitigation Necessary?

Superficially, it is intuitive to believe that we must reduce wildfire occurrences; similarly, we must employ solutions to reduce the size/scope of these recurring Public Safety events.

However, the statistical data empirically reveals the undeniable need for improved wildfire mitigation solutions to be employed; revealing that thus far, we are still falling painfully short.

Annual US Wildfire Cost Impacts:


Annual US Wildfire GHG Emissions Impacts:;(Sources:;;

The need for Wildfire Mitigation is a non-partisan, universally shared understanding.  In addition to astounding annual costs (e.g., suppression, rehabilitation, settlements, etc), and massive levels of Greenhouse Gas Emissions impacts, wildfires cause senseless injuries, fatalities, debilitating local economic impact, State/Federal budget strains, First Responder risk, Corporate Liability, etc.  

While certain wildfire mitigation efforts are underway, ongoing annual

(GRID20/20, Inc. Licensed Adobe Stock photo)

occurrences and their aftermaths clearly prove that today’s unfolding practices are still insufficient. Improved wildfire mitigation solutions are needed. 

For Those Who Somehow Doubt This Need

Consider this:  Wildfires…Summer, Fall, & Now…Winter!  

Seasonality of wildfires is diminishing; wildfires have become a perennial nightmare.   No longer can we be assured of a break from these disastrous events.  No longer can we consider catastrophes to be a ‘once in a lifetime’ event.   Recent history is proving that perennial vigilance is necessary. 

More robust wildfire mitigation solutions are needed.   See the following list of convincing examples regarding notable wildfire impacts which occurred during just the past five years:

March 2022 – Florida: Bertha Swamp Fire / Panama City Fires, thousands of evacuees, home damages

January 2022 – California: Baja Sur (i.e., Colorado Fire)

December 30, 2021 – Colorado wildfire incident, 1000 structures destroyed, 35,000+ evacuees

Year 2021* – California: 3,629 structures, 3 Fatalities, 2.6Million acres

Year 2021** - California “Dixie Fire” – 2nd largest event in CA history, 700+ homes, 963,309 acres

Year 2020 – California’s largest wildfire season on record (4.4+ Million acres burned)

Year 2020 – Oregon: 11+ fatalities, 4,009+ structures destroyed, $609+ Million in losses

Year 2018 – Paradise California “Camp Fire”: 85 fatalities, 18,804 structures, $25.5+ Billion in losses

Year 2018 – British Columbia’s largest wildfire season (3.3+ Million acres burned)

Year 2018 – California: 98+ fatalities, 22,280+ structures destroyed

Year 2017 – California’s “Northern Fires” (October): 44 fatalities, 8,900 structures destroyed

Year 2017 – British Columbia’s worst wildfire season to that point in time: 65,000 evacuees required




How Do We Uniquely Help Operators & First Responders…and the Public?

It all starts with a basic understanding of our grids. Specifically, our existing distribution grid architecture is ubiquitously deployed throughout our communities.  Typically, the density of transformers within our localized distribution grids is commensurately indicative of the density of people, businesses, and institutions that comprise our communities.  This is precisely where we need increased protection.

Each overhead transformer presents a unique opportunity for improved public safety; by capitalizing on the location, height and density of our existing transformer fleets.  Creating an enhanced public safety value that extends well-beyond the standard electricity delivery purpose of our distribution grids.

Specifically, our existing overhead distribution transformer fleets present the perfect opportunity for establishing community-wide wildfire sensor networks.  This is how we meaningfully enhance public safety protections.

By leveraging the height, location and density of our existing overhead transformers, GRIDWIDE FIRE-SPY sensors create an overarching community-wide canopy that monitors certain atmospheric and environmental conditions (i.e., outdoor smoke/gas, ground-level fire, ambient temperature, humidity).  By quickly deploying these always-on, outdoor wildfire sensors onto overhead transformers, we will create a first-of-its-kind wildfire mitigation and public safety solution. 

Using cellular communications, GRIDWIDE FIRE-SPY sensors simultaneously deliver Early Detection, Automated Alerts, ongoing Situational Awareness, and certain wildfire Prevention capability.  Given their fast deployment design, a novel and effective wildfire mitigation solution is now achievable. 

This is “thinking outside the box”; to simultaneously expand the purpose of our existing grid infrastructure, and improve Early Detection of wildfires, and leverage Automated Alerts capability, and achieve certain wildfire Prevention gains, and deliver ongoing Situational Awareness data to authorities whenever these devastating public safety events are unfolding. 

(GRID20/20, Inc. GRIDWIDE FIRE-SPY graphic)

Wildfire Mitigation:  Requires a combination of Early Detection, Auto Alerts, Prevention, and Situational Awareness Information thereby benefitting utility operators, first responders and all stakeholders.

Wildfire Mitigation Solutions 2.0 – New Technology on Legacy Assets

One Solution delivers Early Detection, Auto Alerts, Prevention Capability and Vital Situational Awareness.

One Solution leverages our existing distribution grid infrastructure; precisely where we all live and work.

One Solution helps to address Greenhouse Gas Emissions concerns while negatively impacting no one!

One Solution delivers community-wide Public Safety Protections.

One Solution installs in under 10 minutes; aggregated installs deliver community-wide Wildfire Mitigation.

It is no longer ‘good enough’ to send money into areas AFTER another preventable catastrophe has occurred.

We need to start thinking bigger when it comes to wildfires.  Traditional approaches are insufficient.

New Technologies warrant and facilitate “Investing In The Grid”.

Why Leverage Our Existing Grid Assets?  Because Everyone Deserves to Feel Safe.


Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Apr 29, 2022

The need to manage the GRID To help migration is only 1 part of the need. To reduce fires and pollution is very big. To prevent the fires causing home and business losses is just as great. 

W. Alan Snook, II's picture
Thank W. Alan for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »